Burnet County Jail employee killed in murder-suicide
By Lew K. Cohn
A preliminary investigation indicates the wife of a Burnet County Jail employee shot her spouse once in the back of the head Thursday, April 13, at their Lampasas home before turning the weapon on herself, according to Lampasas Assistant Police Chief Jody Cummings.
“It appears that Deborah Chance shot Millie Chance with a 9mm Glock semiautomatic as Millie Chance had an apparent gunshot wound to the back of her head,” Cummings said Monday. “It then appears that Deborah Chance shot herself as she had an apparent gunshot wound to the forehead.”
Millie Chance, 24, worked as a jailer at the Burnet County Jail. She died Friday afternoon at Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Temple, where she had been airlifted the previous day by Air Evac after initally being treated by Acadian Ambulance. Deborah Chance, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene Thurday morning. The case is being investigated as a murder-suicide.
Lampasas police officers had responded just before noon Thursday to a disturbance call at a residence at 702 W. North Ave. after a woman called 911 from her cell phone to ask for help.
“The apparent female caller could only be heard to say before the call ended 'she’s got a gun' and 'my wife, I told her I wanted a divorce,'” according to a press release from the Lampasas Police Department.
Officers arrived at the scene, set up a perimeter and tried to make contact, the press release said.
“A female inside could be heard yelling for help,” according to the press release. “Two suspected gun shots were then heard, seconds apart.”
Lampasas police, sheriff's deputies and a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper forced entry into the home and found Deborah Chance, 47, a bus driver for Lampasas ISD, dead at the scene from an apparent gunshot wound. Millie Chance was still alive at that time, but had what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head.
“We believe it is Millie's voice that was heard in the 911 call and she has a wound to back of head, plus we recovered a 9mm Glock laying next to Deborah,” Cummings said. “These are all strong things to indicate Deborah was the shooter, though our findings are preliminary at this time.”
Deborah Chance was pronounced dead by Lampasas County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Andrew Garcia, who ordered an autopsy. On Friday afternoon, according to a press release from Patrol Sgt. Steven Sheldon, Lampasas police were informed Millie Chance had died. Her autopsy was ordered by Bell County Precinct 2 JP Don Engelking.
The bodies of both women were sent to Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas County. The Texas Rangers are assisting Lampasas police in their investigation.
A post on the Burnet County Sheriff's Office Facebook page on Friday announced Millie Chance's death.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that a member of our BCSO family, Millie Chance, has passed away. Please keep her family, friends, and coworkers at the Burnet County Jail in your prayers during this difficult time.”
Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd said Saturday Millie Chance had been working as a jailer for Burnet County for “just a couple of months, but she had already made some very close friends.”
“We are a tight-knit family and everyone is devastated, especially the jail staff,” Boyd said. “She had been doing a great job for us since she came to work for us from Williamson County.
“The day Millie was killed, she was supposed to work that night, so we has a pastor there for the staff and we have been making counseling available to them.”
Boyd said neither he nor Millie Chance's immediate supervisors had heard of any problems between the couple nor any indication that something tragic might happen.
“This is definitely a tragedy,” he said. “I spent a lot of time with her family during the past few days and it is certainly going to take them a while to come to grips with what has happened.
Boyd said Millie Chance was an organ donor, and after her death, her organs were harvested for donation.
He said his department will work with Millie Chance's family and hope to be involved “in whatever way we can” with her funeral.