CANTON, Texas – Hothead, bully, fighter. Many folks in this East Texas town describe Jeffrey Doyle Robertson (search) a lot like the tattoo on his arm: Yosemite Sam (search) brandishing two guns next to the words "Born to Raise Hell."
But others say the father charged with shooting and critically wounding his son's high school football coach at the field house Thursday is a caring, devoted father driven to violence by unresponsive school officials who he believed treated his son unfairly.
Robertson, a 45-year-old father of two, allegedly shot coach and athletic director Gary Joe Kinne (search) with an automatic handgun, fled in a black pickup believed to be loaded with weapons and was found in a wooded area near a Smith County golf course with his wrists slashed, said Canton Police Chief Mike Echols.
He was treated at a Tyler hospital and then jailed in Van Zandt County. Robertson was charged Friday with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Canton Municipal Judge Lilia Durham set his bond at $1 million.
Robertson, who appeared haggard yet calm during his arraignment, occasionally looked down to adjust the bandages on his wrists. He was not required to enter a plea. His attorney, William Reece, declined to comment.
The coach, who was shot in the chest, underwent surgery at a Tyler hospital and remained in critical but stable condition Friday, Canton schools Superintendent Larry Davis said in a statement.
Kinne was alone in the field house when he was shot but managed to call the school's office, Davis said. The principal applied pressure to the wound until medical help arrived.
Baseball and softball games scheduled for Friday were postponed, but otherwise the school schedule was back to normal, Davis said.
"Yesterday, evil reared its head in Canton, Texas," he said. "It is useless to speculate on the motives of the shooter since no motive justifies this type of violence."
Police were investigating a possible motive, but they said Robertson appeared to have several targets, including one other football coach.
"He has a hot temper, aggressive, he doesn't think about anything," said Steve Smith Sr., whose son is a defensive end and kicker on the team. "You see him around town, you get away from him as soon as you can."
Smith said Robertson had threatened his son, grabbing his shirt once and pushing him against a fence, because he thought Steve Smith Jr. had picked on his own son, Baron.
Smith said he warned school officials and police about Robertson's threats, but they did not respond effectively. Davis and the police chief said they had been unaware of the severity of the situation.
Rhonda Miller, a cousin of Robertson's wife, said Robertson shouldn't be portrayed as a "lunatic" because he wasn't the only one frustrated with the athletic program.
"A lot of parents are upset. This is not a single incident, and if they don't take care of it, it could escalate," said Miller, one of about a dozen family members who gathered at the jail Thursday night.
Some parents said there were frustrations with the program and the coach whose son was made the starting quarterback as a freshman.
"All parents face that, you know," said Mark Crapanzano, whose small-framed son is a sophomore receiver and backup quarterback. "But that's no reason for violence, Some deal with it better than others. You have to be rational. Accept it. Practice hard and accept it."
Kinne came to Canton in 2003 for his first head coaching job after working as an assistant at Mesquite High School. In his first season he took a team that was 3-7 the previous year to an 8-3 record and their first playoff win in 39 years. In 2004 Canton started the season with six straight wins, and finished 8-2, narrowly missing the playoffs on a tiebreaker.
Son G.J. is the oldest of his three children and the coach was an All-Southwest Conference performer at Baylor in 1988.
Police said they weren't sure what set off Robertson. Some students said they were told by a coach that Robertson's son had been banned from school athletics the day before, but Echols said he couldn't confirm that.
Robertson was banned from the school's campus last fall and told not to attend school functions, including football games, after a several confrontations with coaches, Echols said. One of those included Robertson "shoving and verbally abusing" coaches at the annual football players picnic in September, he said.
Grim news of the shooting shook this touristy town of about 3,500 residents located some 60 miles east of Dallas known for its First Monday Trade Days, a massive flea market the first Monday of each month.
Students were sequestered in their classrooms immediately after the shooting as frantic parents raced to campus and waited hours to make sure their kids were safe.