The only suspect identified in the shooting last weekend at the Party Venue will be released and charges dropped.
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks issued a statement Tuesday evening, indicating there was insufficient evidence to continue to hold Brandon Ray Gonzales of Greenville on a charge of capital murder.
“The probable cause arrest was based on credible information and statements given to law enforcement,” Meeks said in the release. “Law enforcement has diligently investigated this case and in the days since the arrest, additional information has come to light. Due to the lack of cooperation from witnesses and discovery of exculpatory evidence during the course of the investigation, we have requested the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office take no action on Mr. Gonzales’ case at this time, and that he be released from custody.”
Gonzales, 23, had been in custody since Monday afternoon in the Hunt County Detention Center, being held in lieu of $1 million bond on a charge of capital murder of multiple persons involving the shooting deaths of Kevin Berry, 23, of Dallas and Byron Cravens Jr., 23, of Arlington early morning on Oct. 27 at The Party Venue, just west of the Greenville city limits.
“We will continue our investigative efforts into the shooting,” Meeks stated. “We know there are many people who were present at the Party Venue on Sunday, October 27, 2019. who have not spoken with law enforcement. Though individuals may have reasons for not wishing to come forward, we ask that they do so and tell law enforcement what you saw and heard that night no matter how small the information may be. They may not know the importance of any information they have.”
Information from a witness allegedly pointed to Gonzales as the suspect in the case.
The sheriff’s office was notified at around 11:30 p.m. Oct. 26 of a large party and potential traffic hazard due to overflow parking at the business at 2275 U.S. Highway 380. The first deputies arrived 11 minutes later and the officers were investigating a possible intoxicated party goer at the front of the club when the shots fired call came in. Within five minutes the deputies contacted dispatch to report there were multiple victims.
According to the probable cause affidavit filed by Texas Ranger Laura Simmons, which was used to obtain the arrest warrant for Gonzales a source of information voluntarily contacted the sheriff’s office with eyewitness information concerning the murders.
A Saturday night protest conducted outside the sheriff’s office protest drew a few dozen people who supported Gonzales and who claimed law enforcement caught the wrong man.
“The action tonight has demonstrated the incompetence of the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office,” Rev. Jeff Hood, who helped organize the event, said upon hearing the news. “The spirit of justice has prevailed and Brandon Gonzales will be free.”
The sheriff’s office os again asking anyone with information regarding the incident to call investigators at 903-408-6800, or to remain anonymous callers can contact Hunt County Crime Stoppers at 903-457-2929.