GREENVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) — The man accused of shooting several people at a party near Greenville early Sunday morning made his first court appearance Wednesday.
Brandon Gonzales, 23, has been arrested and charged with capital murder.
He was transported from the Hunt County Detention Center to the 354th District Court Oct. 30 for his appearance. He was only there for a few minutes to tell the judge he has hired his own attorney and doesn’t need the court to appoint one for him.
Several of his family members and friends showed up at the courthouse to support him. They said he’s a hardworking young man who isn’t capable of committing such a crime.
Gonzales has no prior criminal history.
“He only had a ticket, so that will tell you kind of about himself — an individual that’s never really been in trouble,” said his cousin, Philip Williams. “Ain’t never really had any type of runaround with the law, so why would an individual out of the blue do something like this?”
Gonzales is accused of opening fire at the Texas A&M-Commerce off-campus homecoming party last weekend, where Two 23-year-old men — Byron Cravens and Kevin Barry — were shot and killed. An additional 12 people were injured by both shots fired and trying to escape.
The Hunt County Sheriff said the investigation isn’t over yet, but investigators are confident Gonzales was the gunman.
According to court documents, a credible eyewitness came forward, who “was certain without a doubt that Gonzales murdered Berry and Cravens.”
That witness said “it appeared Gonzales was intending to kill people” when he pointed his gun at people’s heads.
Investigators say they were able to back up the witness’ account with evidence, though the gun used in the shooting still hasn’t been found.
“Not really having full evidence — no gun, nothing else — would you really throw away that man’s life because you’re trying to get the case done quickly?” Williams asked.
Gonzales’ supporters plan to meet Wednesday night at 6:15 p.m. in front of the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office to protest his arrest and demand his release. Williams said it’s meant to be a time of prayer as well.
“We don’t want to come in no type of anger or no type hardship, we want to come together as a community and pray because we know that God can do anything,” he said.
His family and friends will take Thursday night off since it’s Halloween, but they plan to be back at the sheriff’s office to protest this weekend.