'I want to honor my friend': Woman says Toni Kelly was killed in plumbing shop shooting

By Cory McCord - Digital News Editor, Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

CLEVELAND, Texas - A close friend of the woman who was killed in a shooting spoke to KPRC2 on Thursday, a day after her friend was found dead at a plumbing company in Liberty County.

Pavol Vido, 65, is accused of being the shooter in the pair of shootings.

On Wednesday morning, three people were shot at a plumbing shop near Cleveland and a short time later, a deputy was shot in the neck during a shootout in the parking lot of a nearby veterinary clinic.

Authorities said Vido shot three people at B Dependable plumbing shop on FM Road 321 near New Salem Road. Deputy Richard Whitten, a four-year veteran of the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, arrived at the plumbing shop scene just as Vido was leaving. Whitten followed Vido until he pulled into the parking lot of a veterinary clinic about 2 miles away. Whitten was shot in the neck while confronting Vido. Whitten is expected to recover from his injuries.

One of the victims in the plumbing shop shooting, identified as Toni Kelly by her friend Megen Allen, died at the scene. Two men in serious condition were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

"Toni was the kindest, gentlest soul I ever met and the world became sadder and darker because she was taken from us," Allen said.

Kelly's friends said they contacted KPRC2 for two reasons: to make sure people heard that a truly generous spirit was taken away and to ask for help in caring for several dogs Kelly devoted her life to rescuing.

Allen is trying to fulfill what she believes would be her friend's wish of finding homes for the dogs.

"I'm frightened for these dogs and I want to honor my friend because I'm sure the last thought that she had was of these babies. They were her world," Allen said.

Authorities said Vido had been squatting behind the plumbing business for years.

After the shootings, multiple law enforcement agencies joined the manhunt for Vido.

Vido’s car was found next to a mobile home located in a wooded area between the two shooting scenes. Search dogs led investigators to a boat in a wooded area not far from where Vido’s car was found, and Vido was hiding under it.

READ: Get to know Raider, the K-9 that helped find Pavol Vido hiding under a boat

As negotiators were trying to convince Vido to surrender, they heard a single gunshot. Vido was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Investigators have said they are still trying to determine what led to the shootings, but they know Vido had recently been served with an eviction notice.

Allen is now trying to honor her friend's life by finding homes for Pee-Wee, Chopper, Ty, Legs, Ginger and Doogle, who can be aggressive.

"Toni sacrificed her needs, her wants, her home so that the dogs would have a good place," Allen said.

To help, visit this GoFundMe page that has been set up in an effort to help with expenses.

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