CEDAR HILL (CBSDFW.COM) – In many ways, Welton Betts was what many would call a typical Texan: he loved God, his family, hard work, the Cowboys, and his pickup truck.
By all appearances, the 44-year-old lived a quiet, good life in Corsicana. That is, until he crossed paths with a gunman who police say opened fire on the husband, father and brother—without provocation. He died at a Cedar Hill Texaco where he had stopped after leaving the Cowboys game Sunday evening.
“My Daddy didn’t have a chance,” said daughter Christian Betts. “That’s why I want to talk to him (suspect Juan Navarro Rios) so bad, just so he knows. You didn’t have to.”
Christian said the family has watched the grainy surveillance video of the crime. Most would find it heart wrenching. And it is. But, to the family of Welton Betts, it is also a blessing.
“To just see him for that 1.3 seconds, or whatever it was… on that video, ya know,” said his younger brother, Kelton Bailey.” Indeed, it takes extreme grief—or a special kind of faith—to find comfort in surveillance video that captures the last few seconds of a great man’s life. “We was blessed,” added Bailey, “because the other family they didn’t even get that.”
Relatives of Welton Betts now say they feel as though they are “connected in grief” with the family of Ruben Moreno, the 33-year-old shot to death on a Dallas freeway before the alleged gunman headed to Cedar Hill.
“He didn’t have a chance to tell him, ‘hey man, calm down’, that’s what he would have said,” insisted Christian.
She says she wants to see and talk to the man who has cost the grieving family so much.
“I want him to know that he could have asked my Daddy… and my Daddy would have done whatever he could to help him. He would have brought him down here, put him on a tractor… given him a job. I just wish he knew that he had a different option that night.”
Betts’ wife, Gail witnessed the murder. According to Christian, the pair were childhood sweethearts, having fallen in love as teenagers in Kerens, and as the decades passed, never stopped dating.
Now, family members want the world to know that Welton Betts’ life was so much bigger than how he died. And they wish so badly that the accused gunman, now identified as Juan Navarro Rios, had gotten the opportunity to know Welton Betts as well.
“He didn’t get the chance to show that man (Rios) the type of man he was,” said Christian, “because if he did, that man would have walked away wanting to be a better man.”
The search for Rios ultimately led to Georgetown, just north of Austin, where he is accused in a kidnapping and robbery there. Local officials said the search for him was complicated by his use of a number of aliases, including Silvestre Franco-Luviano.
Late Wednesday, immigration officials confirmed that Rios had been deported to Mexico on three occasions. Welton Betts’ family though, made clear that his immigration status has no bearing on their loss.
“It could have been anybody,” said Bailey. “A white man, a black man, anybody that goes crazy.”
Funeral services for Betts have been scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Saturday, October 1 at Northside Baptist Church in Corsicana.
Burial will follow at Prairie Point Cemetery, Kerens, Texas.
(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)