LaCoste, Texas – Two families criticized the lack of information provided by the LaCoste Police Department after a man fired a gun at two 12-year-old boys and attempted to run one of them down with his vehicle earlier this month.
The March 8 incident happened outside a home near Val Verde Street and Ney Avenue, just down the street from the LaCoste Police Department in Medina County.
The boys had just gotten off the school bus sometime after 4 p.m. when they were approached by a man driving a Black Dodge Durango.
After the man drove alongside the boys at a slow rate of speed, he parked in the driveway of a home and pulled out a handgun, a parent of each of the boys told the KSAT 12 Defenders.
“My child heard him cock the gun and told the other child to run,” said Heather Brumage, a parent of one of the children involved.
One of the boys told the Defenders off-camera he heard the sounds of a shot being fired and a bullet whizzing by their heads.
The other boy called his father, Hank Seay III, while trying to get somewhere safe.
“He was extremely upset, telling me he had just been shot at. So I was trying to ask him ‘where are you? Where you at?’ And then all of a sudden he started screaming, saying ‘he’s trying to run me over dad, help me, help me,’ and he’s running,” Seay said. “It was a terrible feeling to know that your son’s in distress 20 miles away and you can’t get there to him.”
The boys were eventually able to get to safety inside a home.
Cell phone camera pictures and video provided to the Defenders by an eyewitness show LaCoste police and Medina County Sheriff’s Deputies storming the property the following day.
Two people, one of them a small child, were rushed out of the home in the footage.
Even though the video shows the Durango still parked in the driveway, the accused shooter did not appear to be there.
Brumage said in the days since the shooting she has encountered one obstacle after another while trying to get updates on the criminal investigation.
She claims LaCoste Police Chief Johnny Kendricks has failed to alert the public that a shooter is on the loose, or provided a suspect description to residents and that the department never took formal statements from the boys detailing what happened to them.
Kendricks, who briefly spoke with the Defenders off-camera last week, said he was told by city officials not to discuss the investigation, but did claim both boys gave statements after the incident that were recorded on department cameras.
Asked for a copy of the incident report, Kendricks instructed the Defenders last week to file an open records request in writing at City Hall. To date, the city has not responded to that request.
Kendricks referred all questions about what charges the suspect may face to Medina County District Attorney Mark Haby.
Haby, in an email last week, told the Defenders, “This is still a pending investigation. I have not yet received a file or any documents whatsoever from the agency investigating the case. Accordingly, a charging decision has not yet been made.”
Medina County Sheriff’s officials have referred questions about the case back to LaCoste PD.
“I don’t believe by any standard that a proper investigation has been conducted. It seems to me that it has not been given the serious attention it deserves,” said Brumage.
Seay said police showed him a shell casing found at the scene but have not otherwise provided updates on the the department’s investigation.
“I wish the chief would see it from our point of view, because he’s got kids. If this was one of his kids out here being shot at, I think the guy would have been caught already, you know, and I think a lot of people look at that,” said Seay.
Seay added that he believes LaCoste PD, which is made up mostly of reserve officers, is not properly equipped to handle this type of criminal investigation.
He added that his father, a LaCoste resident, has been barricading himself inside his home at night since law enforcement has been unclear about whether the accused shooter could still be in the area.
The Durango involved in the incident was still parked outside the home Friday.
Brumage also took issue with Medina Valley Independent School District officials not notifying parents about the shooting incident.
It took place just a few blocks from LaCoste Elementary School and just down the street from an MVISD bus stop.
A Medina Valley ISD spokeswoman said via email last week the district is aware of the incident but from its understanding the shooting did not take place at the actual bus stop.
She did not respond to a follow up email asking why parents were not notified, since it involved two of the district’s middle school students.