Hundreds of explosives removed from home

July 15, 2009 4:51:16 PM PDT
Residents of a Chambers County neighborhood are finally allowed to return home after authorities carefully removed explosives from a home. [PHOTOS: Images from Monday's SWAT scene]

Investigators with various bomb squads, the FBI and the ATF were here for a third day working to contain hundreds of explosives found in a trailer where there was a standoff over an unpaid water bill on Monday.

The explosives were discovered after a shootout at that home on Monday in which a Chambers County deputy lost his life.

Deputy Shane Detwiler was killed in that standoff. Investigators say he was killed by 35-year-old Gilbert Ortez Jr., who had at least 100 explosives in his mobile home. There were gas grenades and homemade pipe bombs inside the home.

In addition to the explosives and guns found inside, investigators reportedly also found drawings containing swastikas and other Nazi themes.

For the first time we are hearing briefly from one of the water company workers who was shot at prior to the deputy being killed.

The Southwest Water Company worker says he's still shaken by the shooting Monday morning. He wouldn't tell us his name and did not want to do an interview. Company officials say a supervisor and a meter reader were going to turn off the water at the home of Gilbert Ortez, Jr. for non-payment when shots were fired at them.

As for neighbors in the area, one resident who spoke to Eyewitness News is relieved all of that material is finally being removed from the neighborhood.

"I'm glad they are getting that out of there now," said nearby resident Emory Wood. "I mean, if they would have shot and hit some of that stuff, it could have gone off and we would have had big problems then. They were just trying to shoot in self-defense. It's a bad situation."

Toxicology tests are being done to determine if Ortez might have been under the influence of alcohol or any drug Monday morning when he opened fire and killed Deputy Detwiler.

The woman who allegedly opened fire on the water company employees, Pamela Leggett, faces aggravated assault and resisting arrest charges. It is still possible she could be charged in Deputy Detwiler's murder.

Our request to speak with her in jail was denied by the sheriff's office.

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Helping out

"The 100 Club of Houston" will help Deputy Shane Detwiler's family cover his funeral expenses. If you'd like to make a donation, visit the 100 Club of Houston website to help the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

Remembering Deputy Detwiler

A visitation for Deputy Detwiler will be held at the Eagle Heights Fellowship on Thursday between 3pm and 8pm. It's located on 14,120 Highway 146

The funeral will be Friday at 10am at Miranotha Church at 12,319 Highway 146 in Mont Belvieu. That church was chosen specifically because it has the capacity to hold about 3,000 people. A big crowd is expected to come paying final respects.

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