Shooting spree north of Honey Grove leaves four victims, gunman dead
By Allen Rich
Aug 30, 2005
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Sash, Texas -- Maybe the world will never know exactly what reportedly caused Freddie Leroy Cranshaw to go home and come back with the guns.  But reasons or motives may be very hard to come by as Fannin County Sheriff’s Department Officers and investigators from across North Texas begin their documentation of the deadliest shooting spree in modern county history, a vicious rampage that included the random murder of two women that fate seemed to simply put in the path of a suspected killer on the run in rural Fannin County Sunday evening.


At a news conference Monday evening, Fannin County Sheriff Kenneth Moore told what early details have been gathered from the multiple crime scenes overnight.   Sash is in the rolling hills of northern Fannin County and Cranshaw, 54, lived on the west side of FM100.  Just across the road and to the southeast of Cranshaw's house sits the Sash Assembly of God Church. 



Sheriff Moore said witnesses have told of  “a verbal exchange with an individual in the church parking lot,” although the person or persons involved were not named at the press conference. 


“Cranshaw left,” Moore continued,  “went to his residence, parked his truck, walked back to the parking lot and he started firing.”


Church parking lot
Witnesses reported seeing Cranshaw fire a “snub-nosed” handgun.  A 38 caliber pistol was later taken as evidence and the sheriff described the gun as a weapon that would be consistent with the initial crime scene in the church parking lot that left pastor John Wayne Armstrong, 42, and church deacon Ernest Wesley Brown, 61, fatally wounded.  Both men were residents of Sash.


The first 911 calls came in around 8:20 Sunday night and the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department dispatched a deputy that arrived on the scene about 8:35 p.m. and reported that at least four individuals had been shot.


Witness reports and collaborating evidence indicates that Cranshaw left the church parking lot on foot, went home, got in his pickup and drove north on FM 100.  Just up the road at a stop sign where FM 409 runs into FM 100 sat a one-ton dually pulling a gooseneck horse trailer.  In the front seat of the dually sat 50-year-old Hunt County resident Holly Love Brown and Ceri Litterio, 46, a resident of southern Fannin County.  It was now just after 8:20 p.m. and the two women had been horseback riding in the Caddo Grasslands just a few miles from the stop sign.  The first shot evidently hit the front quarter panel of the pickup. 


The West 409 sign is approximately where the second two victims were found shot. Down the road and on the left is a TV crew in the Sash Assembly of God parking lot.


A neighbor described hearing a shot and then saw the suspect’s truck turn around and pull up to the back of the trailer.  This witness remembered hearing the screams of two women.  Brown and Litterio appeared to have both exited the truck via the passenger-side door before being shot near the back of the horse trailer.  Officers found the women lying on the pavement, along with several spent 7mm casings.


Cranshaw ended up on Farm Road 2166, an east-west road that crosses the north-south oriented FM 100 at the Sash store, and Cranshaw reportedly also fired shots as he went by at least one driveway just east of the Sash store.  Then Cranshaw drove home, parked on the south side of his residence that is officially listed as 11273 FM 100, Honey Grove, and went inside. 


The home of Freddie Leroy Cranshaw


Authorities arrived on the scene, determined the gunman was either inside the house or in a large metal shop located just south of the residence, sealed off the area and set up primary and secondary command centers. 


“Kudos to the Dallas Police Department,” the Fannin County Sheriff said as he began describing all the agencies working in tandem to resolve this deadly issue.  Dallas PD had a helicopter in the air to use infrared equipment that would have picked up body heat given off if the suspect had left his home.  Thick woods engulf the rear of the property and authorities were wary of Cranshaw escaping.  Also on the scene and actively involved in the stand-off situation were the Honey Grove Police Department, Department of Public Safety Troopers from both Lamar and Fannin counties, Bonham Police Department Detectives, and a special crisis unit from the Paris Police Department.  The Dallas PD helicopter had to refuel once in Grayson County and again later in Lamar County, but the infrared equipment gave authorities every reason to believe Cranshaw was still in his residence.


The Paris PD SWAT team attempted to enter the residence, but were driven back by gunfire.  Authorities used pepper spray and tried a second time, however another burst of shots drove them back once more.  Several attempts to communicate were made, but Sheriff Moore said the suspect “never gave any indications to officers that he might give up.”


At 5:30 Monday morning, members of the Paris PD special unit entered the residence to find the suspect apparently dead from a self-inflicted gunshot to the left temple.  A weapon was in close proximity and Cranshaw was left-handed, the sheriff added.  Cranshaw was fitted with a prosthesis on his right arm that connected at his elbow.  


There are “no indications” the fatal shot came from any law enforcement personnel on hand, Sheriff Moore reiterated.   A .38 caliber pistol and a 7 mm handgun were recovered from the residence.


Freddie Leroy Cranshaw had no criminal history during his time in Fannin County that authorities are aware of, but Sheriff Moore said Cranshaw’s neighbors had called the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office about two months ago and reported that Cranshaw was in the front yard with a gun.  However, no weapon was found when a deputy responded to the call and there was no cause for arrest.


As news of this tragedy sinks into this normally placid corner of rural North Texas, Fannin County Family Crisis Center counselors are available at 903-583-7694 if needed, or call the Crisis Center’s 24-hour hotline at 903-583-7000.

Sash Assembly of God parking lot