CANTON, Texas – Schools in Canton, Texas, were in lockdown Thursday as police hunted for a man with a hit list who shot and wounded a football coach Thursday at the high school his son attended.
The suspect, Jeffrey Doyle Robertson, 45, was carried out of the woods on a stretcher a few hours later, after his truck was found abandoned near a golf course outside Canton. His condition was not immediately disclosed.
Gary Joe Kinne, who is also the Canton High School (search) athletic director, was shot in the school's field house with an AK-47 (search) rifle, according to the state's Homeland Security office. Kinne was airlifted to a hospital in nearby Tyler. Authorities were not releasing his condition but his father told FOX News around 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon that Kinne was out of surgery, was conscious and was in critical condition.
The Homeland Security office identified the shooter as Robertson, who fled the scene in a 2004 black Dodge pickup. Robertson had other weapons in his truck and had made statements that he had a hit list and would not be taken alive, spokeswoman Sophie Yanez said.
KDFW reported that after the suspect exited the truck, he called a friend on a cell phone and said he was going to try to commit suicide by slitting his wrists in a nearby wooded area. Those reports are so far unconfirmed.
Police were not clear on the motive, but authorities have received reports that Robertson and the coach had an "altercation" sometime after Kinne took over the program in 2003, said Jasmine Andresen, a Texas Department of Public Safety officer. Robertson's son was on the team.
Robertson's truck apparently was found abandoned near a golf course off Interstate 20 between Tyler and Canton about two hours after the shooting, authorities said.
"The Sheriff's Department, DPS and Texas Rangers are all out here, but I haven't seen anything," said Justin Hill, who works at the Garden Valley Golf Course's pro shop in Lindale. "No one's running around here with an AK-47."
Former New York Police Department detective Patrick Brosnan told FOX News that actually finding the shooter is only No. 2 on the police squad's priority list.
"The police responsibility today .. is the safety and security of other citizens," Brosnan said. "He's No. 2 on the list."
Diane Price, a cashier at Sister's Cafe in Canton, said she has known Robertson for 37 years; he was a high school classmate of her daughter.
She said after the coach was shot, customers told her that Robertson, who turned 46 on Wednesday, had gotten drunk at a party last night and bragged about his plans.
"I've heard that he was ill and not expected to live and he was going to even some scores," said Price, who didn't know what illness Robertson supposedly suffered.
Asked about Robertson's reputation in the community, Price said: "I wouldn't say he was respected. But he was well-known."
Amanda Sheperd, owner of Backwoods Bar-B-Que in Canton, said she was alarmed when she heard about the shooting because her ninth-grade grandson, Ty Sheperd, plays baseball and has a class in the field house. She believes he had left the field house and gone to band class before the shooting.
"I talked to the school just now and they said the kids were taken care of, and they're not letting anybody in or out," said Sheperd, who was continuing to serve lunch customers as news helicopters hovered overhead the school about a half-mile away. "The guy's on the loose, so they're out looking for him."
An athlete's father said Robertson had threatened to kill his son last year over an on-field teasing.
"He's a very high-strung, hot-tempered individual," said Steve Smith, a Canton business owner.
Smith said Robertson's son, then a freshman football player, was walking off the field when some older students "razzed" him. "At the time, I guess, the father sort of took it personally," Smith told FOX News.
"He threatened my son and my son immediately called me and said 'Dad, you've got to get up here,'" Smith said, adding that one of the junior high principals also said they heard Robertson threaten a student.
Smith said he tried to talk to Robertson after the incident.
"I wanted to try to talk to him, be civilized and hopefully try to help the guy out," he said. "I knew he had to have some issues if he was trying to take it out on kids ... I totally agree with protecting my child but not in that form and fashion. He was defensive about it, belligerent."
Smith added: "You sort of feel that in a person — that he's a time bomb waiting to explode."
Smith said he complained to the school and police. Robertson was never charged.
Kinne took over as Canton coach after leaving Mesquite High School (search) before the 2003 season. His son, G. J. Kinne, was the AP 3A All-state honorable mention quarterback last season.
Kenneth Trump, a national school security expert and President of Cleveland-based National School Safety and Security Services, noted that there has been a spike in violent, school-related deaths this school year.
"It's a situation that's really significant in terms of look at the time of the year — we're in spring. We know that violence incidents in school tend to spike in the springtime," Trump said, attributing the seasonal violence to factors such as test pressures and fewer vacation breaks during the semester.
He noted that there were 49 school-associated violent deaths last school year; there have been 31 so far this school year. This year, there have also been 43 nonfatal school shootings, he said.
"No one wants to be an alarmist but it certainly raises concerns," Trump added.
FOX News' Phil Keating, Liza Porteus and The Associated Press contributed to this report.