KCBD Investigates Discounting Danger: Shooting victim says Jamie Lee Pruett threatened his life weeks before shooting

Codie Payne said a meeting with his former employer ended with him in the hospital with a gunshot wound.
Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 6:57 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 6, 2023 at 10:32 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Codie Payne said a meeting with his former employer ended with him in the hospital with a gunshot wound.

Codie Payne said he first met 49-year-old Jamie Lee Pruett about five months ago.

“I had a truck up on Facebook for sale that had been wrecked. He reached out and ended up buying it from me,” Payne said.

Payne said that deal turned into several more.

“I offered him the truck with the blown motor if he would fix my other truck. A week later, I made another deal with him on some motorcycles and took those over there,” Payne said.

Payne said Pruett even hired him to work at his vehicle repair shop, but the relationship turned sour and Payne left the job after about two months.

Payne said Pruett showed up at his house about a month later and asked if they could make more deals.

Payne agreed and Pruett traded him a larger trailer for two smaller trailers.

But Payne said he was still waiting on Pruett to follow through on the earlier deals.

“It was like four months now that he had two trucks and three motorcycles and he hadn’t touched any of them,” Payne said.

Payne said Pruett called him up one day and told him the motorcycles were ready, but when Payne got to the shop, they weren’t.

“I started asking questions, asked about my truck. ‘You’ve had my truck here four months now and you told me it would be three weeks,’” he told Pruett.

“That is when he threatened to kill me if I ever rush him or tell him how to do his job again,” Payne said.

Payne said he left the shop.

Days later he decided to try to recover his vehicles again, but this time he asked if Lubbock police officers could get involved.

“At first, they tell me they can’t do anything; it’s a civil matter,” Payne said.

But Payne said an officer did meet him at Pruett’s shop where Pruett agreed to hand over the vehicles.

Payne said the officer left, but the problems were not over.

“The tires on my truck are stabbed, the keys for the motorcycles, he broke them all off, snapped the handlebars on one of the bikes,” Payne said.

“He told me, ‘Get a lawyer, you f****ed up calling the cops,” Payne said.

“I call the police back out and they are telling me again that they couldn’t make him do nothing. So, I said, ‘Alright then, I want to press charges on him for property damages and him for threatening to kill me,’” Payne said.

Payne filed a police report that same day, on March 7.

“The next two days back-to-back I call up to LPD telling them the situation again about taking my stuff, damaging my stuff, and threatening to kill me,” Payne said. “They just kept giving me the same answer, ‘It’s a civil matter, it’s a process, someone will get to it.’”

We sat down with the Lubbock Police Department to find out what happened with Payne’s March 7 report.

“That case went straight to the persons crimes unit. Since we had several cases on this individual, the sergeant himself contacted the person on three separate occasions and we never received a phone call back from him,” said Captain Leath McClure.

McClure said the sergeant called Payne to follow-up on the March 7 report on March 14, 15, and 16.

Payne was shot on March 13, one day before LPD’s call.

“This could have been avoided and someone needs to be held accountable for it,” McClure said.

We asked police why they could not take action on Payne’s earlier report.

“These cases and what we are dealing with right now are not what we would verify, or the FBI would verify as violent crimes. If there was a shooting tonight, we could go all hands on deck and try to get a warrant by the end of the day,” McClure said.

That is what happened on March 13 when Lubbock County Sheriff’s Deputies said Pruett shot one man at a south Lubbock home, two more at a game room, and then Payne at the gas station in Slaton.

When Payne was released from the hospital, he checked his security camera footage from earlier in the day.

“Sure enough at 11:37 that morning, it shows on my camera where he pulls up at the end of my driveway, gets out, walks under my carport, and looks around. My dogs start barking so he walks back to his car and drives off,” Payne said.

Payne was not home at the time, but his family was.

“Definitely makes me hate myself for not seeing it sooner and for allowing something like that to come so close to my home and my family especially when I wasn’t there to do anything,” Payne said.

Payne is not the only person who filed a police report about Pruett before the shooting.

In February, a 17-year-old filed a report with Lubbock Police, claiming that Pruett made inappropriate comments to her and tried to follow her home from work.

Deputies arrested Pruett on March 13.

He remains in the Lubbock County Detention Center facing charges related to the deadly shooting.