Man accused of Greenville Party Venue shooting released, charges dropped

Lopez%2C+tears+up+for+a+moment+after+speaking+about+her+son%27s+innocence+at+a+recent+protest.+The+group+of+protestors+gathered+outside+the+Hunt+County+Sheriff%27s+Office+and+marched+through+downtown+Greenville+on+Saturday.+
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Man accused of Greenville Party Venue shooting released, charges dropped

Lopez, tears up for a moment after speaking about her son's innocence at a recent protest. The group of protestors gathered outside the Hunt County Sheriff's Office and marched through downtown Greenville on Saturday.

Lopez, tears up for a moment after speaking about her son's innocence at a recent protest. The group of protestors gathered outside the Hunt County Sheriff's Office and marched through downtown Greenville on Saturday.

Daniel Yanez

Lopez, tears up for a moment after speaking about her son's innocence at a recent protest. The group of protestors gathered outside the Hunt County Sheriff's Office and marched through downtown Greenville on Saturday.

Daniel Yanez

Daniel Yanez

Lopez, tears up for a moment after speaking about her son's innocence at a recent protest. The group of protestors gathered outside the Hunt County Sheriff's Office and marched through downtown Greenville on Saturday.

Daniel Yanez, Reporter

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Brandon Gonzales, the 23-year-old arrested for the recent Greenville shooting at the Party Venue, was released from the Hunt County Jail on Tuesday evening in the wake of new evidence.

The release comes after a lack of cooperation from witnesses and the discovery of exculpatory, or clearing, evidence according to a statement from the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office. In addition to his release, the sheriff’s office has requested the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office take no action on Gonzales’ case. 

Gonzales was originally arrested for capital murder last Monday at a local car dealership where he works. He was being held at the Hunt County Jail on a $1 million bond. An arrest affidavit was issued after a source of information presented law enforcement with credible information. In the affidavit the source said they saw Gonzales and identified him as the shooter at the Party Venue. The source’s name is being held confidential for security reasons. 

The shooting, which resulted in the death of Byron Craven Jr., 23, and Kevin Berry, 23, and the injury of several others, including four Texas A&M University-Commerce students, happened on the night of Oct. 26 at an off-campus homecoming party. The party was not sanctioned by the university.  

However, Gonzales’ family and friends as well as other individuals protested his innocence throughout his incarceration. This past Saturday, dozens gathered outside the Hunt County Jail during a peaceful demonstration calling for Gonzales’ freedom. The protest was organized by the Rev. Jeff Hood, an author and activist from Denton, Texas. Members of the group spoke in objection of the arrest in front of the sheriff’s office before marching through downtown Greenville and gathering at the steps of the Hunt County Courthouse. 

Gonzales, who was in custody for nine days, also professed his innocence. He said spending time in jail hurt his spirit, but that he knew it would be a matter of time before he was released. Gonzales said he was not even inside the event venue when the shooting took place. 

“Knowing that you’re innocent, it kills your whole demeanor and your personality,” Gonzales said. “Knowing Grenville, Texas has your back it makes you feel some type of way. I ain’t going to lie, when I heard people come through as I was in my cell and say ‘Hey, that’s the shooter, that’s the shooter,’ it killed me cause that’s not my image, that’s not who I am, that’s not who I’ve ever been.” 

During his time in jail, Gonzales wrote a letter to God asking for guidance. He said his goal was to get out and see his family and children. Gonzales read his letter to cameramen and reporters outside the Hunt County Sheriff’s office last night after his release. 

“Lord, I am your child, and I did no such thing as they are trying to ruin my image on the outside, but even then, while I’m here, I will remain the same kind, humble and loving person because I know I’m coming home.”

Gonzales said he didn’t learn about his release until a guard came to his cell and told him to “gather everything up.” Gonzales said it was a great feeling to learn about his release and that it felt like a dream knowing everything he was going through. 

To this day, Gonzales said he doesn’t understand why he was arrested. His group of attorneys said they plan to hold the sheriff’s office accountable. Andrew W. Wilkerson, one of the attorneys said Gonzales plans to file a civil suit against the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office. 

At the time of his arrest Sheriff Randy Meeks said in a press conference law enforcement had not yet discovered a motive or recovered the weapon and that he did not anticipate any new arrest. Tuesday evening’s statement from the Hunt County Sheriff’s office states law enforcement will continue investigative efforts.

The statement goes on to urge witnesses and those present at the Party Venue to contribute any information they may have regarding the case. To contact the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office call 903-408-6800, or to remain anonymous contact Hunt County Crime Stoppers at 903-457-2929.

 

Read Brandon Gonzales’ letter below

“Lord I know you’ve put me through many tests and obstacles in my life and I have overcame (sic) and achieved all, so I will do the same with this test. And I will come out and do the right things, as I was. Lord, everything in my life was falling into place. Now I feel like I have been pushed down a cliff, but I know you, Lord. You will throw me a rope to help me back on the cliff. Lord, as I am under this cliff, I ask you to guide my family and friends into the right directions to help us overcome this darkness. Lord, I am your child and I did no such thing, as they are trying to ruin my image on the outside, but even then, while I’m here, I will remain the same kind, humble and loving person because I know I’m coming home.”

 

Read the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office statement below

The Hunt County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the shooting that occurred on October 27, 2019 at the Party Venue on U.S. Highway 380. On October 28. 2019, Brandon Gonzales was arrested in connection to the shooting. The probable cause arrest was based on credible information and statements given to law enforcement. Law enforcement has diligently investigated this case and in the days since the arrest, additional information has come to light. Due to the lack of cooperation from witnesses and discovery of exculpatory evidence during the course of the investigation, we have requested the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office take no action on Mr. Gonzales’ case at this time, and that he be released from custody. 

We will continue our investigative efforts into the shooting. We know there are many people who were present at the Party Venue on Sunday, October 27, 2019 who have not spoken with law enforcement.  Though individuals may have reasons for not wishing to come forward, we ask that they do so and tell law enforcement what you saw and heard that night no matter how small the information may be. They may not know the importance of any information they have.  

If you were present at the Party Venue or have any information regarding this case, please contact the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office at 903-408-6800, or to remain anonymous you may contact Hunt County Crime Stoppers at 903-457-2929. 

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