July 24, 2012

Widow recounts fatal shooting of her husband on Fort Worth freeway

Burleson woman says her brother-in-law and husband got into a fight as her sister drove the two couples home from a party in Denton County.

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FORT WORTH -- Arlene Perry yelled at her sister to stop the truck early Sunday as they drove down a Fort Worth freeway because her husband and her brother-in-law were fighting and wrestling in the back seat.

After the pickup stopped, a shot was fired.

"Then there's this ringing in my ears," Arlene Perry said Tuesday, crying uncontrollably. "I don't know what it was."

Within seconds, Eric Perry, 37, of Burleson lay face down on the side of the highway with a gunshot wound to his chest.

"I flipped him over and tried to get the blood off of him," his widow said. "I kept telling him, 'Don't leave us. Don't leave us now.'"

By the time paramedics arrived, Eric Perry was dead.

The shooting was reported shortly before 1:30 a.m. Sunday in the 5500 block of Interstate 35W, just north of Loop 820. Officers found Eric Perry on the ground near his brother-in-law's pickup.

His brother-in-law, whose name is being withheld because he has not been charged, was questioned and released by Fort Worth police pending further investigation and consultation with the Tarrant County district attorney's office, police said Tuesday.

The brother-in-law could not be reached Tuesday.

Arlene Perry, however, provided details of what led to the shooting to the Star-Telegram.

Eric Perry wanted to go to a party for friends in the Lantana community in Denton County on Saturday night, and got his wife and in-laws to go along.

The couples had a few drinks at the party and got into the truck to leave at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

"We had argued during the party, and we kept it up a little in the truck," Arlene Perry said, referring to her husband. "The homeowner came out to get us to calm down, and we did."

Eric Perry got into the passenger side, and his brother-in-law drove. Their wives sat in the back seat.

"I couldn't get my window to roll down so he stopped," Arlene Perry said. "He fixed it, got in the truck and then rolled through a stop sign."

Within seconds, Arlene Perry said that they were pulled over by a police officer. The officer checked everyone and gave Arlene Perry's brother-in-law a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer test.

"The officer told him [brother-in-law] that he was borderline intoxicated," Arlene Perry said. "He tested my sister and she was OK, so the officer said that she needed to drive."

She drove while Arlene Perry moved up to the front seat. Her husband and brother-in-law sat in the back seat.

"We're frustrated about being pulled over, and Eric and I are still arguing a little," Arlene Perry said.

At some point, Arlene Perry's sister shouted out "No, no, stop!"

Arlene Perry said at that time she felt her brother-in-law's legs kicking her seat because he was sitting right behind her.

"They are fighting and I then tried to break it up," Arlene Perry said. "I then heard Eric say, 'Do you want to hit me?'"

After the truck stopped and she heard the ringing sound, Arlene Perry said she saw her brother-in-law with a gun. She said he has a concealed handgun permit.

"I asked him, 'Did you shoot him?'" she said. "He said, 'I don't know.'"

That's when she saw her husband on the ground.

Arlene Perry said that she hasn't talked to her brother-in-law since the shooting, but she has kept in touch with her sister.

Arlene Perry and her husband were married for four years, raising three children at their Burleson home. He had two other children from a previous marriage, and they were also part of their family.

"He didn't deserve to die," she said. "He was my best friend and one of the most dependable and honest men you will ever know."

Domingo Ramirez Jr.,


Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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