Fort Worth

March madness: A month of murder and mayhem in the DFW area

The month started out deadly with a shooting at a Euless park, where Officer David Hofer was fatally wounded and a suspect shot and killed.
The month started out deadly with a shooting at a Euless park, where Officer David Hofer was fatally wounded and a suspect shot and killed. kbouphanh@star-telegram.com

March 1 was a critical day for presidential hopefuls in 11 states, including Texas.

Candidates, including Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Bernie Sanders, held rallies in North Texas in the days leading up to Super Tuesday.

Presidential politics was the buzz.

But about 2:45 p.m. on March 1, under sunny blue skies at a neighborhood park in Euless, shots rang out.

Police officers rushed to the park where a lone gunman, 22-year-old Jorge Brian Gonzalez, waited alongside a creek.

Officer David Hofer engaged Gonzalez and ordered him to drop his weapon. Instead Gonzalez opened fire, fatally wounding Hofer. Others officers fired, hitting Gonzalez multiple times. He was pronounced dead at a Fort Worth hospital.

Over the four weeks, North Texas would see multiple murders, more police-involved shootings, bizarre behavior, tornadoes and tennis-ball sized hail.

WFAA anchor John McCaa noted the mayhem on Twitter: “seems like so much more violence lately in north Texas, don't you think??”

Through Wednesday, March’s numbers were telling:

Dallas has had 20 homicides this month, compared to seven in March 2015.

Arlington has had four homicides, compared to six in all of 2015.

Fort Worth has had four homicides and Benbrook two.

Victims ranged in age from 1 to 67. Some of the shootings were domestic, others were drug-related.

Weather-wise, hailstorms caused hundreds of millions in damage in Tarrant, Denton and Collin counties.

And some things, politics aside, were just hard to understand.

Sunday, March 6

The day after thousands of people turned out to honor Hofer at his memorial service at Bedford’s Pennington Field, police were busy in other cities, dealing with homicides.

Fort Worth man killed during burglary: A passerby called police to El Chevo Empresa, 2501 Pearl Ave., around 5 a.m. on a report of a burglary in progress. Police arrived to find a man inside the business dead of an apparent gunshot wound. He was later identified as Eusebio Bernardo Fernando, 42.

Woman strangled in Little Elm: A few hours later, at 9:40 a.m., Denton County sheriff’s deputies were notified about a dead woman in the 3600 block of Shorewood Drive in the Hilltown Addition near Little Elm. Daniel Edward Greco, 34, is accused of strangling Anjanette Kristina Harris, 40, of Little Elm. No motive has been reported.

Mark Minnick
Mark Minnick, 51. Osborne, Ryan - Fort Worth Courtesy of Azle Police Department

Mark Minnick

Azle officer kills armed man: Sunday night, Azle police officer Angele Perez fatally shot an armed 51-year-old man night after the man “advanced toward the officer and pointed the weapon at him,” Police Chief Rick Pippins said.

Mark Minnick was pronounced dead at 9:38 p.m. in the 600 block of Alameda Road.

Monday, March 7

Violent suicide in Lewisville: About 8:12 p.m., Jeffrey Staley, 36, of Grapevine, carried two 5-gallon gas canisters as he shot his way into the Carter Blood Care Center in Lewisville before killing himself.

No one else was injured in the incident.

Police found a bowl of black powder and gas cans near Staley’s body.

“It appears he was going to ignite them, but we don’t really know,” Lewisville police Capt. Dan Rochelle said.

Tuesday, March 8

Fatal shooting in Arlington: An early morning shooting left one man dead and another one injured near Arlington Sam Houston High School.

Calvin Camacho, 23, was pronounced dead at 4:02 a.m. in the 2400 block of Summer Place Drive. The other person was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Three tornadoes touch down: An outbreak of severe thunderstorms broke out Monday evening and continued Tuesday morning, unleashing three EF-1 tornadoes, including one in Tolar in Hood County that injured four people.

The first tornado hit Monday night in Cool in Parker County, followed by the second early Tuesday in Stephenville and the third in the small community of Tolar, where a handful of mobile homes were destroyed.

Tarrant County had torrential rain and 70 mph wind gusts and Denton County reported flooding, and power went out across the region.

Thursday, March 10

Assault, arson in Fort Worth: A 52-year-old man who strangled a woman in 1986 and then tried to set her apartment on fire was in jail Thursday night facing new charges of assault and arson, according to officials and public records.

Victor Charles Rosenfarb’s roommate was found beaten and burned Thursday morning in his Meadowbrook-area apartment, officials said. Rosenfarb was arrested when he returned to the scene at 11:20 a.m. Thursday, according to Fort Worth police and fire authorities.

Sunday, March 13

Leiliana Wright 2
Leiliana Wright was born in 2012, when her mother was serving prison time. Courtesy of Craig Clakley

Leiliana Wright

Four-year-old girl beaten to death: Grand Prairie police were called to a home about 12:30 a.m. on a call of an injured child, a 4-year-old girl who was rushed to Medical Center of Arlington, where she was pronounced dead at 1:07 a.m.

Leiliana Wright died of blunt force trauma to her head and abdomen, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

Leiliana’s mother, Jeri Quezada, an ex-con who had her daughter while in prison, was arrested last week in connection with the death.

Arlington police officer injured: Arlington police officer Haley Thedford escaped serious injury Sunday morning when a motorist rammed his truck into the officer’s car. Thedford was pinned inside her car and was taken to a local hospital where she was treated and released.

Police arrested J.P. Mendez-Guerrero of Fort Worth several hours later after he drove to a relative’s home in Fort Worth and passed out.

“He appeared calm and determined,” Thedford said an interview the next day. “He knew what he was about to do.”

Arlington man stabbed to death: Later that morning, a man was stabbed to death in a residential neighborhood in Arlington, and police arrested a 16-year-old suspect.

Francisco Lopez, 27, was found in a driveway in the 6300 block of Declaration Drive. He was pronounced dead at 8:05 a.m. at Medical Center of Arlington.

Motorcyclists pepper-sprayed: A Fort Worth police officer was pulled from patrol while police conduct an internal investigation into a video that shows him pepper-spraying passing motorcyclists Sunday afternoon on a Fort Worth highway.

Officer W. Figueroa was placed on administrative duties.

Officer pepper-sprays motorcyclists.

Figueroa had pulled over a red pickup truck and issued citations for the driver having no license and for two passengers for standing in the bed of the truck. As a caravan of motorcyclists began to pass, Figueroa got out of the patrol car and sprayed pepper spray toward the motorcyclists. He said he felt threatened by the motocyclists as they passed by his vehicle.

Officer fatally shoots teen in Addison: Sunday night in Addison, an off-duty cop shot and killed a 16-year-old after the officer said the teen and another youth were breaking into SUVs at the apartment complex where he lived.

Farmers Branch police officer Ken Johnson, 34, chased Jose Cruz and his classmate, Edgar Rodriguez, in his Chevrolet Tahoe before Cruz’s Dodge Challenger spun out of control at a busy intersection.

Johnson approached the car and is accused of fatally shooting Cruz. Johnson also faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the shooting of Cruz’s classmate, Edgar Rodriguez, who survived.

After being charged Johnson resigned.

Monday, March 14

Weatherford teen killed in hog hunt: A Weatherford teenager was killed about 4 a.m. Monday when he was leaving a hunting blind and his gun discharged and wounded him in the head, a Wise County game warden said.

Brennan Weikel, 17, a senior at Weatherford High School, was hunting feral hogs with three family members in western Wise County, close to the Jack County line, game warden Penny Nixon said.

The shot “was pretty point-blank,” Nixon said. “A young hunter — a relatively new hunter— killed this way is everybody’s worst nightmare.”

Dallas woman accused of killing husband: Lilicia Woods, 25, is accused of stabbing her husband to death during an argument over another woman.

Officers responded to the call around 9:10 p.m. at an apartment complex in central Oak Cliff, where Clifton Carpenter, 27, was found on the couch inside an apartment unit with a stab wound to the chest.

Woods was sitting outside in the apartment’s courtyard when officers arrived and told police that she Carpenter had been drinking, then arguing.

Tuesday, March 15

Officer Shot 3
Heavily armed Fort Worth police officers on the scene in west Fort Worth where an officer was wounded Tuesday. Paul Moseley pmoseley@star-telegram.com

Officers at the shooting scence in west Fort Worth

Fort Worth officer shot, suspect killed: A chase that began about 2:30 p.m. ended in a gunfight where Fort Worth police officer Matt Pearce was critically wounded, one suspect was killed and another arrested.

Pearce, 36, was shot multiple times March 15 while chasing a father and son in a wooded area in far west Fort Worth. Pearce remains in critical condition at a Fort Worth hospital.

Matt Pearce 1

Matt Pearce

During the shootout, Ed R. McIver, 42, who had a long criminal record, was killed by police and his son was taken into custody. Ed McIver Jr., 20, faces several charges including evading arrest and attempted capital murder.

Man dies in Arlington shooting: An Arlington man died Tuesday after being shot by a gunman who police say probably knew the victim.

Kevin Anderson, 21, died at a local hospital shortly after the shooting. The shooting call came into police about 4 p.m. Tuesday in the 2400 block of Windsprint Way.

Wednesday, March 16

Wilson, Alicee Vyonn
Alicee Vyonn Wilson, 31 Palo Pinto COunty Sheriff's Offi Courtesy Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s Office

Alicee Vyonn Wilson

Granddaughter accused in death: A 67-year-old woman was found slain Wednesday night in her north Fort Worth home after her granddaughter was pulled over in Palo Pinto County, acting strangely and covered in blood.

Alicee Vyonn Wilson, 31, is accused of stabbing to death Alice Wilson, her grandmother.

Alicee Wilson remains in the Palo Pinto County Jail facing a charge of murder.

Thursday, March 17

busted out windshield (2)
FortWorth

Car damaged in Fort Worth hailstorm

Hail storm pounds Tarrant County: A surprising thunderstorm dropped hail from west Fort Worth to Arlington early Thursday morning, killing birds at the Fort Worth Zoo, ripping roofs and breaking windshields.

Insurance claims have already reached $600 million, making the storm the 12th costliest in Texas history.

Mom accused of killing two girls in Benbrook: The wife of a renowed concert pianist is accused of killing their two little girls and stabbing herself at their Benbook duplex.

Prosecutors have filed two charges of capital murder against Sofya Tsygankova, formally accusing her in the slayings of her two young daughters. She has pleaded not guilty to the crimes.

Kholodenko file1
Paul Moseley pmoseley@star-telegram.com

Sofya Tsygankova at her first court hearing.

Vadym Kholodenko, the children’s father and gold medalist at the 2013 Cliburn piano competition, called 911 shortly before 9:30 a.m. Thursday after arriving at the house to pick up his two young daughters. He found them dead and his estranged wife wounded, covered in blood and “going crazy.”

The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office has temporarily ruled that her daughters — Nika Kholodenko, 5, and Michaela Kholodenko, 1 — died from “homicidal violence.”

Murder-suicide in Plano: Police are investigating a possible murder-suicide involving a married couple at their home in Plano.

Police say that Gardner Chamber, 44, shot his wife, Noshin Chamber, 41, then turned the gun on himself.

The Chambers had three children.

Two people shot to death in Dallas: Thursday night, two people were found shot to death in far northeast Dallas in the 9000 block of Audelia Road.

One victim was 24-year-old Dymdric Williams, who died at the scene. The other victim, 21-year-old Taydren Young, died at a Dallas hospital.

Saturday, March 19

Man arrested in fatal Fort Worth crash: A 30-year-old man was accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a Fort Worth mother.

Jwuan Johnson, 30, of Fort Worth was arrested shortly after the 8 p.m. wreck and faces a charge of intoxication manslaughter with a motor vehicle, authorities said. Amy Garner, 44, of Fort Worth was pronounced dead at the scene, the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office reported.

Four other people were injured.

Wednesday, March 23

Man shot and killed in Pleasant Grove: A 27-year-old man was shot and killed inside his trailer in the Pleasant Grove neighborhood of Dallas.

The shooting was reported about 2:50 a.m. in the Plesant Grove neighborhood of east Dallas. Joshua Harewood was found dead inside a trailier home and an arrest warrant was issued for a man who was an acquaitance of Harewood.

Woman fatally shot in Fort Worth motel: Tashell Donetta Nichols, 34, was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound at a Motel 6 in south Fort Worth.

Officers responded at 10:38 a.m. to the motel in the 6600 block of Interstate 35W near Altamesa Boulevard and found the woman in a room. Johnnie Warren, 36, was later arrested after a brief police pursuit in East Texas.

The Motel 6 is the same location where a woman was shot to death Nov. 30 as she stood in the motel lobby.

More hail pounds North Texas: Severe thunderstorms rolled through Tarrant County Wednesday night, prompting offiicials to issue a tornado warning in the heavily-populated northern part of the county.

But the worst damage from the storm came in Plano, where egg-sized hail fell, causing millions in damage.

Sunday, March 27

Teen shot to death in Forest Hill: Christian Rhodes, 17, was found dead inside a friend’s home in Forest Hill after police responded to a call of a shooting.

Christian Rhodes2
Christian Rhodes, 17, of Fort Worth

Christian Rhodes

The call came in shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday from the 4100 block of Bowling Green Street. pon arriving at the home officers found Rhodes, a former student at Polytechnic High School in Fort Worth, inside, where he was pronounced dead.

Miguel Calderon Jr., 18, of Forest Hill, was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the slaying.

Monday, March 28

Dallas drug deal leads to deadly shooting: Dallas police say two men were been fatally shot when one allegedly attempted to rob the other during a drug deal in northeast Dallas.

Derek Jordan, 19, was found dead at about 12:30 a.m. Monday near the entrance of an apartment complex on Whitehurst Drive. At about the same time, a 19-year-old man was found shot inside a vehicle a mile away. He was taken to a local hospital where he died a short time later.

Tuesday, March 29

A Dallas woman was arrested Wednesday after being accused of fatally shooting a man Tuesday night at a West Dallas apartment complex.

Shundale Taylor, 24, was jailed on a murder charge in the shooting death of 23-year-old Antoine Hodge, police said. The two had been involved in a long-running feud, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Wednesday, March 30

One man killed, another wounded in Dallas: Dallas police responded to a shooting about midnight at an Oak Cliff apartment complex and found one man dead and other injured.

Wiitnesses told police that a gunman opened fire inside an apartment and fled on foot, according to media reports.

More hail, rain and strong winds: Another round of severe thunderstorms pounded North Texas, bringing heavy rain, strong winds and hail, but no tornadoes.

A tornado warning was issued at 5:15 p.m. for northwestern Johnson County, when a wall cloud with rotation was spotted near Godley. But by 5:30 p.m. the county’s emergency management office said no damage other than downed tree branches was found.

Hail as big as a half-dollar was also reported in Johnson County, while 60 mph winds were reported in southwest Fort Worth.

This article contains information from Star-Telegram archives and The Associated Press.

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