Haines: "Chaos" as victims tried to escape
Hunt County Sheriff's Office has arrested a suspect in connection with a mass shooting that left two dead and 14 injured outside The Party Venue on U.S. Highway 380 in Greenville at approximately 11:45 p.m. Saturday night.
Brandon Ray Gonzales, 23, was arrested on charges of multiple capital murder and is currently being held at the Hunt County Sheriff's Office on a $1 million bond.
Hunt Co. Sheriff's Office has confirmed the identities of the shooting victims:
Kevin Barry Jr., 23, of Dallas and Byron Cravens, 23, of Arlington were the two killed by the gunman.
"We realize that some of this information has already been shared on social media. However, we have procedures in place to make sure that next of kin is officially notified before we release victim information and this was the reason for the delay," Sergeant Jeff Haines, Hunt Co. public information officer, said.
A timeline of Saturday night’s deadly shooting in Greenville has emerged, according to Hunt County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Sergeant Jeff Haines.
A celebration was underway with approximately 750 people in attendance, Haines said. Although some wore costumes and some were celebrating the homecoming win of Texas A&M-Commerce, it was neither a Halloween party nor an official TAMUC party, according to Haines.
At approximately 11:30 p.m. Hunt County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call for service regarding unsafe parking on Highway 380. Haines stated that cars were parked approximately a mile to a mile and a half on the road surrounding The Party Venue.
“Deputies responded to investigate the traffic hazard of the large party and there was an off-duty Farmersville ISD police officer working security,” Haines stated.
Upon deputies arrival, they located a woman who appeared to be intoxicated in the front of the building, Haines said.
“As they were talking to [the woman] trying to find out if there was some place they could take her or if she had a ride, gunshots started ringing out,” Haines said.
The call for shots fired came in to the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office at 12:05 a.m., Haines stated.
Chief Deputy Buddy Oxford stated that deputies heard gunshots coming from the back of the building but did not know if they were inside or outside of the building.
“You can imagine the chaos coming out of [a] little building… trying to make their way down to the highway to get in their cars… as the deputies are trying to go in to confront or identify the shooters,” Haines said.
Haines stated that during the time of the shooting, only the front and back doors were used on the building, and that a large garage door remained closed. Haines said that the building does not have posted maximum occupancy signs.
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said this morning at a press conference that one witness reported that the gunman seemed to pick out one person for his first victim, and then continued to shoot.
As attendees began trying to escape the shooter, several others were injured.
“It was mass chaos with people trying to exit the building … Some of the injuries were from broken glass. They were breaking the glass of the window trying to get out of the building,” Meeks said.
Oxford did not have information on the severity of injuries. Medical City Plano spokeswoman Melissa Sauvage told The Associated Press that the hospital had received three victims of the shooting, all of whom were in critical condition.
Hunt County Sheriff’s Office stated in a press conference they believe one shooter was involved and is still at large. Haines later backtracked that statement, saying that Hunt County Sheriff’s Office reserved the decision to identify as person or persons involved during the ongoing investigation.
“The descriptions are all over the place, so we have nothing we feel is concrete,” Haines stated. The suspect or suspects remain at large, Haines said. “It’s theorized it was one… but we’re keeping our options open.”
According to Haines, an automatic weapon was not used in the shooting.
“It was not a rifle of any kind,” Haines said. “It was a handgun.” Haines declined to note the caliber or model due to the ongoing investigation.
Haines stated owners of the venue had been cooperative with the investigation.
Assisting agencies include Texas Rangers, Department of Public Safety, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.