A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Murder in Texas

Trooper Vetter died from a gunshot wound to the head while conducting a traffic stop. Trooper Vetter had stopped a 72 year old driver for not wearing a seatbelt. While Trooper Vetter was sitting in his patrol car, the suspect, Melvin Hale, exited his vehicle and opened fire with a rifle. The Trooper was struck in the head. Melvin Hale then used the patrol car's radio to say he shot the officer and attempted to flee the scene. An off duty officer who was passing by witnessed the shooting and alerted other officers. Melvin Hale was then taken into custody after a brief standoff on the roadway. The suspect was known to local officers for claiming he would shoot any officer who tried to write him a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt. Hale plea bargained to save his skin, was convicted of murder, and is serving a life sentence.

Hale firmly believes God guided him in the slaying of Trooper Vetter. "If it was left to me, I would not have done it," he claims. "But I do what God wants me to do. I don't feel bad about it. God didn't want him enforcing that seat belt law. I know it wasn't popular with a lot of people, but they were not in my position. If I had not done it, I would have been in trouble with God. I fired two shots from the hip. That's a tough shot. God was directing the bullet."

There is evil in this world. Crazy evil. If you can stand it, read more here.

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Anonymous Jeff said...


7:30 AM  
Anonymous Kilgor said...

The guy needs to be put down like a rabid dog. Over a seat belt ticket? A SEAT BELT ticket???

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that the officer didn't shoot that m*****f****r the moment he saw the rifle in his hands and ordered him to drop it.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Randolph said...

Well I hope the old asshole gets lotsa lovin from Bubba while in the pen. For years and years!

But they will probably fry the bastard.

I realize this is probably too raw to post, Xavier - but this is just plain stupid.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous angus lincoln said...

That is chilling.Why was the man allowed to get in his car and drive away? It's too bad the officer wasn't aware of the threats his killer had made. It doesn't look like he could have done much to defend himself any better than he did; it was a surprise, unprvoked attack. Perhaps if officers kept their sidearms more accessible from within the vehicle rather than holstered on their hip. I don't know that he didn't, but the fact that there was no return fire may indicate that.

10:25 AM  
Blogger nature223 said...

first off....I would've gotten some distance and backed the HELL away from a rifle armed person.
the trooper failed to provise himself enough standoff,reaction room,and thus was not able to react in time to a threat he didnt even know he had.
I'll bet he had entirely too many of these needless stupid traffic stops and this was the one time karma caught up with him.
enforcing SEATBELT laws??
is that really worth the B.S. factor?
and was it REALLY worth this lawman losing his life to this crazy person,who was "gunning for the police" anyway???
yeah,"seatbelts save lifes",great line...
but,I'll add another;"enough distance to react...saves your ass"
tragedy all around,but the guy did get caught and appearently charged and jailed for murder.

the guy gargling his last was pretty awful to listen to as this nut then tried to get radio assistance,for the officer he just killed.
kudos to the dispatcher,who got the assistance there even with this guy not knowing they were now interested in him.

11:36 AM  
Blogger nature223 said...

P.S. I was looking around the net,the weapon used on the trooper was a .223 mini-14,I'd thought the way he'ed handled it,it was a lever gun at first,it wasnt,it was a folding stock.
also the shooter was in debt to the tune of $19,000 back taxes,combative to to most people, then the anger he had was turned to this action.
the trooper lived for four days before dying of head injuries by gunshot to his head at close range.
he was survived by his wife and an 8 month son

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Jay said...


Jesus Christ. You can hear the man dying. You can hear the breaths rattling...

Please, Xavier - warn us next time. That's too much.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Montie said...


I just recently started reading your blog, and I must say it is very good. I have started on your archives, and I really enjoy reading them. I will be disappointed when I get all caught up.

I am a 23 year veteran police detective sergeant, who loves and has carried and collected 1911's and older S&W revolvers for all of those years and I find I agree with much, if not all, you have to say. You have even rekindled a desire I've had to build up a single speed, coaster braked, full sized bicycle.

I haven't really felt the need to comment on your blog until now. This video first became available through police channels quite some time back. Upon first viewing it, I was a litle disturbed at the trooper's reluctance to engage an armed suspect with deadly force, which unfortunately resulted in his death (not to take anything away from a courageous fellow officer, but this should be a learning experience so that his death was not in vain).

The response and tactics of the responding officers though was like a deadly version of "Keystone Cops". It was so bad that I didn't even bother to view the video, since I immediately recognized it from the still and your description, as it causes my blood pressure to rise to a dangerous level when I see the tactics (antics?) of the responding officers.

I have often wondered if their apalling fear of engaging an armed suspect who had just shot another officer might have contributed to the trooper's death, due to the delay in being able to get help to him as he lay mortally wounded in his patrol car.

Having been shot at and shot back a couple of times over the years, I can understand a certain reluctance to apply deadly force to another human being, but in this situation, as soon as I figured out that the suspect was the shooter, things would have progressed much more rapidly, and help would have gotten to the trooper much more quickly.

Just wanted to put in my 2 cents, for what its worth.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous DAL357 said...

Sad, sad, sad. This was such a major point of contention that he had to murder?

With age does not always come wisdom. Old, dumb bastard.

There may come a time, or there may not, someday, to respond violently to police abuse, but this wasn't the time. Not even close.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

I am a firearms instructor for my PD and we show this video in training. This is a very sad case, but there is much to be learned from it on several different levels...

The suspect claimed self defense, and stated that he fired only when the officer pointed his handgun at him. Too many officers point handguns and just expect that the suspects will comply. If you are going to point a handgun at a man with a rifle, you mindset needs to be that you are ready to shoot in a split second. I hate to second guess the officer, but I would bet he never thought he would need to press the trigger himself, and that the old guy was going to put the rifle down.

The suspect sure had an old-school Texas mindset going though, didn't he? I have only visited Texas a few times, but I found it interesting how the old-timers there would refer to police officers as "The Government", and not in a good way.

We also use this as an example of how not to respond to the scene of a reported shooting. The first officer strolled up to the old guy with the rifle and it took her quite some time to realize that he was the shooter. Bad guys come all shapes and forms.

But perhaps the best lessons learned here were 1) a rifle is vastly superior to a handgun when it comes to gunfighting, and 2) when in a gunfight you need to MOVE! The officer was shot standing there using his open car door as cover.

When I graduated from the police academy oh so many years ago, I really thought I could handle anything thrown at me with my handy sidearm. Now I am preaching to my guys to use the handgun to fight your way to your rifle, if at all possible.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sick punk! Hope he gets death penalty. Of course, some liberal lawyer will say he's old and didn't know what he was doing.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just the price we pay to keep us all safe from those among us who would dare indulge in the evil of forgoing a three-point restraining harness.

It's for the children!

5:42 PM  
Blogger Montie said...


Perhaps I should have looked at the video you have posted prior to making my earlier comment. You and your readers might not understand what I was referencing, when I talked about the actions of the responding officers, because the copy of the video you have is missing almost exactly 5 minutes in the middle of the action.

Having decided to go ahead and look at it again, I ws suprised to see that the section of the video showing the actions of the responding officers when they arrived on scene and were initially dealing with the perpetrator is cut from the copy you have (almost exactly five minutes of elapsed time). Because of this you can't see what happened as the first, and then several other officers arrived, and what went on before the perpetrator got back into his car and tried to drive away. I can see if I can get a copy of the ENTIRE video for you if you would like.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All for a seatbelt!

Far better have let the old cretin carry on and kill himself in a crash than stop him.

Although there is a slight reduction in road deaths with compulsory wearing of seatbelts, it results in many more deaths of pedestrians and cyclists from the false sense of security it gives drivers.

Far better only enforce it for minors, and let the cretins kill themselves.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I read your blog daily, and it is excellent.

Please try to get and post the full-length version of this incident.

There is a lot to learn here.


Keep up the excellent weblog.

1:02 PM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...


4:54 PM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

As I'm sure many of the LEOs who commented earlier will attest to, that's actually one of the less horrific videos of traffic stops gone bad that are used for training. Not to diminish the tragedy, but some...

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Follow up. Sadly, he seems to be enjoying himself in prison.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Minimizing the sheer number of laws would reduce the number of conflicts people have with those who pass those laws and those who enforce them.

Yes, but minimizing laws isn't in the "lawmaker" job description. Remember, their only tool is a hammer, so all problems look like... what?

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are going to revolt, just remember, you are on your own, so pack a lunch. Most people pretty OK with their choice between freedom or slavery.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Assrot said...

I'm truly sorry to hear that we lost another fine LEO in the line of duty.

I'm also truly sorry that in cases like this where there is no question of guilt that we can't just go ahead and drag the perp off in the woods and shoot him in the head and leave him lay for the buzzards to pick clean.

Human garbage is what this is. They are lower than any animal could ever be. Son of a bitch. I'm glad I was not there. I'd have probably shot the asshole with my CCW gun. Then the moonbats would be calling for my head.

This piece of shit will probably get off with an insanity plea of some kind.

It really gripes my ass.


7:21 PM  

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