April 3, 1995: A day of infamy for Corpus Christi

More than 25 years later, investigators never figured out a motive to the mass shooting

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – More than 25 years after one of the most infamous crimes in Corpus Christi’s history, investigators have never figured out a motive for a mass shooting that left six people dead.

April 3, 1995 was already a day of mourning for the tight-knit community. It was the day Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla was laid to rest. Then, just hours later, people would be shocked once again to hear that five people were shot to death at a local refinery.

According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, it started when a former employee, 28-year old James Simpson, walked through the front door of the Walter Rossler Co.

Police records state Simpson shot the owner, his wife and three workers before leaving through the back door and shooting himself behind the building.

Corpus Christi police say as many as 10 people were inside the industrial inspection company when Simpson entered and opened fire.

Two workers inside were able to escape by crawling out the back door. Authorities identified the victims as owner Walter Rossler, 62; his wife, Joann Rossler, 62; Derek Harrison, 35; Wendy P. Gilmore, 41; and Richard Tomlinson, 34.

Unfortunately, the motive for the slayings remains unknown to this day.

Police also say there were no details on why Simpson left the company seven months before the shooting, in September of 1994.

See more South Texas Crime Stories on KSAT.


About the Authors:

Roslyn Jimenez is a news producer at KSAT. Before joining the team, she was a producer and video editor at KIII-TV and a radio intern in Corpus Christi. She graduated from Del Mar College with an Associate's degree in political science and liberal arts. Roslyn is family-oriented and loves spending time with her fiancé and chihuahua Paco.

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with more than 12 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter.