Deputy killed as SWAT Team breaks through door to serve “No Knock” warrant

by Doug Book,  editor

On December 19th, a sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed during an attempt to serve a “no knock” warrant near Sommerville, Texas. Just before 6:00 A.M. an 8 member SWAT team broke through the door of Henry Goedrich Magee to serve a warrant which would permit the team to search the mobile home in which Magee and his pregnant girlfriend were living. Reacting to the pre-dawn, forced entry Magee grabbed a rifle propped against a bedroom door frame and fired at the unidentified intruders, killing 31 year old sheriff’s deputy Adam Sowders. No one else was injured and Magee was taken into custody. He is being held on $1 million bail and has been charged with capital murder, punishable in Texas by life in prison without possibility of parole or death by lethal injection.

These are the broad facts of the case as first reported by a number of print, radio and TV sources. The following additional information has been made public during the past few days:

1.) The “no-knock” warrant was issued at the request of Deputy Sowders who was proceeding according to information provided by an investigator who told the officer that Magee “…was growing marijuana and possibly had stolen guns, as well as other drugs inside his home.” According to Magee’s attorney, Dick Deguerin, four weapons were recovered by police; 3 legally owned by Magee, one legally owned by Magee’s mother. Also according to Deguerin, the only drugs found in the home consisted of a small number of marijuana plants, constituting “…a misdemeanor amount.” The warrant itself was signed by District Judge Reva Towslee Corbett. As a copy has yet to be made available, it’s not known whether the warrant was for a drug search only or also for a search for firearms.

2.) According to the AP, “Magee has been arrested twice for driving while intoxicated and twice for possession of marijuana.” The Bryan-College Station Eagle writes that Magee “has a felony and misdemeanor drug conviction.”  According to Texas law, a resident with a felony arrest may own a weapon IF 5 years have elapsed since the felony conviction or end of parole. The weapon must be kept at the individuals home. None of the sources make it clear if this statute applies to Magee.

3.) Speaking for his client, Deguerin told the media that Magee and his girlfriend were awakened by the sound of “explosives” which seemed to be going off near the front windows and a loud banging on the front door. Magee claims he did not know that law enforcement officers were responsible for the noise or the break in.

4.) A spokesman for the Burleson County Sheriff’s Office said she “…did not know if or how deputies announced their entrance into the home.” None of the deputies were wearing body cameras and it is unknown if dashboard cameras on police vehicles were operating. 

It’s a safe bet that a mountain of additional information will be forthcoming should Magee stand trial. But based upon the information that has been released, should Henry Magee have been charged with capital murder? In fact, should he face a murder charge of any kind? IF the SWAT team (as it was called by Texas Ranger Andres de la Garza) entered without identifying its members as law enforcement officers, did Magee have an absolute right to shoot, given that he feared for his life, that of his girlfried and of their child? Must officers accept any risk which goes along with the serving of a “no knock” warrant, the purpose of which is to confuse, intimidate and catch suspected criminals off guard?

It is perhaps a tragic irony that Deputy Sowders himself requested Judge Corbett issue the no knock warrant which might have contributed to his death. With prior arrests for drunk driving and possession of marijuana, it’s difficult to imagine that such a warrant would have been issued at all. Assuming Magee was not engaged in criminal activity as yet unreported, shouldn’t SWAT team tactics be reserved for individuals with far more extensive records, or suspected of more serious offenses?

Countless articles have recently been written about the “Militarization” of police departments across the U.S. If police are preparing for “war” against the American public, it seems likely that shoot-outs between citizens and officers could become all to common.


Be Sociable, Share!

24 thoughts on “Deputy killed as SWAT Team breaks through door to serve “No Knock” warrant”

  1. No knock warrants are unconstitutional (I don’t care what the courts have ruled) and often end with the “suspects” being murdered or as in this case the cops being shot and killed. Anyone that breaks into my home would receive the same treatment as these officers, cops or not. This no knock crap is tyrannical and plain WRONG. They often get the wrong house, use false or made up information to get a warrant (when they get one) and when the cops go in they all think they are RAMBO and are going to kill everyone and everything in sight, animals and people. I hope more cops get shot doing these no knock tyrannical entries!


  2. I wouldn’t call Sowder’s death homicide, I would call it suicide. He was a victim of his own stupidity and cowardice. A military swat team to burst into a trailer when a simple knock on the door with the necessary warrant should have been suffice. Another example of the destruction of our bill of rights.

    1. I was thinking the same thing.

      It is usually the police shooting innocent folks based on unsubstantiated accusations by “CI”s, who are usually criminals.

    2. I feel sorry the officer is dead and sorry for his family, but I have to agree with you Mr. Greenberg. A simple warrant, a knock on the door, and ID’ing themselves as the police could have prevented this tragedy. The victim is guilty of nothing more than self-defense but I’m afraid our so called “fair” justice system will hang the guy. Manufactured evidence perhaps?

  3. This is becoming a VERY dangerous situation not only for citizens but for law enforcement personnel that have apparently watched too many crime shows on TV. There are many citizens that are trained, prepared, and equipped to deal with eminent threats of potential grievous bodily harm or death against themselves and/or families. I hope this individual gets a fair trial.

  4. The guy lived in a TRAILER. He wouldn’t have been able to dispose of anything that they could not have recovered. There was absolutely no need for a “no-knock” warrant.

    The reason for “no-knock” warrants is so that the action-hero wannabe narcissists of SWAT can have fun indulging their gestapo desires.

    The guy didn’t know they were cops. A “no-knock” warrant should be a get-out-of-jail-free card for anybody who kills a cop in the act of perpetrating an unlawful no-knock entry.

    1. Right. A no knock warrant wasn’t required. There would have been sufficient evidence to make an arrest. This is not a murder case. It was a set-stage for disaster. It’s really a case of self-defense but It probably will be charged as some sort of homicide.

  5. I am truly shocked they didn’t kill him even though they are charging him with murder for the simple act of self defense.

    If the police are coming to your home, guns drawn, it should be assumed that they will kill you and your pets followed shortly by an investigation indicating that they followed the book to letter even if its the wrong house.

    The Book is the got damn problem. My late night noise protection is a 12 gauge Saiga with a 20 rd drum loaded with 00. If you kill a cop during a no knock, you better be ready to kill all of them.

    We need laws find cops personally, financially and criminally responsible for their actions. Right now they are above the law.

    1. WE THE PEOPLE HAVE got to stand for our rights; it’s now or never. This has gotten progressively worse. Also, please look into this event and support or join: Operation America Spring – May 14, 2014. We are going to Occupy not March through. It is a demand for his removal for unconstitutional acts, for treason against America, for not being a legal citizen and occupying the White House, etc. etc. along with Pelosi, Boehner, Reid and Biden…

  6. If you are part of law enforcement and willingly participate with this tyranny I have no pity for you if you die. He was in the right to shoot. A bunch of assholes busted into a house to enforce a law that shouldn’t exist in the first place. No pity at all.

    1. @Ian Smythe—

      Ian, I don’t remember any of the articles mentioning a legal defense fund. I also don’t recall any mentions of a fund for the family of Deputy Sowders. Regardless of whether the officer’s actions were right or wrong, it was an awfully tough thing for his family, especially at this time of year.
      Thanks for reading Coach is Right,


  7. If a man’s door gets busted in without warning, he has reasonable fear at that moment and can react with deadly force to protect himself and his family. There are laws that allow for the use of deadly force with reasonable fear of great bodily harm or death.

    How was he supposed to know that it was the police? Do they normally do no-knock warrants on misdemeanor amounts of marijuana?

    This foolishness by law-enforcement has got to stop.

  8. When I took the course for my conceal carry permit, the class was told that if someone is TRYING to forcefully enter your home, you can assume that it is for reasons to harm you and you have the right to shoot through the door. Doing this would not only deter, but likely kill the perpetrator. Sounds reasonable to me.

  9. “It is perhaps a tragic irony that Deputy Sowders himself requested Judge Corbett issue the no knock warrant which might have contributed to his death.”

    Tragic irony or poetic justice?

  10. I support the man for opening fire on the burglars. The judge signed off on the dead cop’s death warrant at the request of the cop himself.
    There should be no arrest as without proper identification, the sleeping man had no knowledge of why someone was breaking into his or what the threat was so he used the castle doctrine to protect himself and others. No crime here. If I was on the jury, I would wait until the case ends and exonerate the fella with some words of advice to the cops: he got what he had coming to him and the rest of the team should have been taken out, too.

    1. Without proper and RELIABLE identification, the police are armed robbers and should be treated as such by homeowners, the neighbors, and the law. There is a professional way to conduct a search, and for crying out loud, this kind of treatment is not justified by the thought that someone might succeed in destroying evidence. Not even a hundredth of it is justified by that idea. When they can, some judges are allowing the violation, the rape of our rights for very little reason, which tells you what they think of our rights.

  11. Henry Goedrich Magee was exercising his constitutionally protected right to self-defense and defense of his property when he shot and killed sheriff’s deputy Sgt. Adam Sowders. In the darkness of the wee sma’ hours of the morning, before sunrise, a homeowner has no way to know who is breaking into his house when no announcement (such as a knock on the door) is beforehand made.

    The risk of being killed by a homeowner who is exercising his lawful right to self-defense is borne by law-enforcement when they engage in no-knock raids. If the homeowner can’t tell the LEO from a bandit, simply because the LEO is acting exactly like a bandit would act, then the homeowner isn’t to blame for assuming the worst and following the old advice “better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.”

    This unfortunate episode illustrates the foolishness of no-knock raids. CITIZENS DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEFEND THEIR HOMES AND THEMSELVES. They always will. If law-enforcement wants to be safer, then they will knock. They will announce themselves. They will display their badges and the warrant upon request. There is a right way to do things, which, if followed, will minimize risk to both the LEO and the citizen. If LEO chooses not to follow that correct procedure, then LEO has no business blaming the citizen for doing what he believes is necessary to protect himself from someone who might be a criminal.

    The arrest of Henry Goedrich Magee was pure revenge and retaliation upon him by law enforcement for shooting one of their homies, one of their fellow gang members. Oh, yes. They’ll seek the death penalty. Oh, yes. They will try to stack the deck in court, too. If by some chance Magee is cleared by a jury, they’ll seek revenge in other ways. Because LEO organizations are gangs, too. They just wear nicer clothes than some of the other gangs do.

Comments are closed.