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PECOS, July 5, 1995 - There have been no surprises or new discoveries in
the investigation involving the June 27 shooting death of Gilbert
Barraza, according to the Texas Ranger assigned to the case.
Texas Ranger Sergeant Joe Sanders said this morning that he is currently
working on his report, but is still waiting for the autopsy and
toxicology reports from the Lubbock County Medical Examiners Office. He
added the investigation should continue at least through the cad of July.
Barraza died of a single gun shot to the chest from Pecos Police
Sergeant Ramon Ornelas. Ornelas arrived at the scene after he received a
call to assist the sheriffs department last Tuesday evening. The call
was in reference to a family disturbance at Barraza's residence, 219 E.
"C" St., and was made by Barraza's sister to the Reeves County Sheriff's
Ornelas arrived at the scene just after Deputy Tony Aguilar. He was then
allegedly confronted by Barraza, who was armed with-a knife.
Sanders said that three shots were reportedly fired from Ornelas' .357
caliber handgun during their struggle.
The first shot was fired into the ground, the second was the fatal round
and he third bullet was shot into the air, said Sanders.
"We never found the third bullet," he said.
Sanders was present for the autopsy, conducted last Wednesday, and said
that chemical and ballistics checks will be conducted on the knife held
by Barraza and Ornelas' firearm in an Austin lab for verification.
"This is to make sure that the victim was shot by the officer's gun,"
Sanders said of the procedure. He added that any blood found on the
knife will be checked against both the officer's and victim's blood.
However, the Ranger also said "there is no question about who shot and
what gun was fired."
"The exit wound was not as big as the entrance wound." Sanders said. The
statement was made in response to a report that went out over the police
scanner frequency after Barraza was brought to the Reeves County
Hospital that the exit wound was larger than the entrance wound,
possible indicating an expanding bullet had been used in the shooting.
"I don't know why they would say 'expanding bullet'," said Sanders.
The bullets were semi jacketed, .357 caliber hollow points, Sanders said
after reviewing bullet fragments removed during the autopsy and from the
ground outside the Barraza home.
"It will probably take about a month," for all reports to be completed
in the investigation, said Sanders.
"The officer (Ornelas) is not denying anything. It will be up to the
district attorney when the case will be presented to a grand jury," he
District Attorney John Stickles was out of his office and not available
for comment before press time.
Sanders has talked to the Barraza family while investigating the
shooting death. Barraza's sister spoke briefly to KPTX-Ch. 9 last
Thursday about hiring a lawyer in connection with the incident, but
other than that have not commented publicly.
Police Academy Director Richard Kleinhans of the Permian Basin Regional
Planning Commission said this morning that Ornelas' actions were a
proper response, according the use of Force tactic taught to cadets
during their police academy training.
"This is a clear-cut case where that other individual (Barraza) is using
deadly force and the police officer is trained to use deadly force," as
well said Kleinhans.
"Use of Force,' said Kleinhans, requires the officer to shoot to kill
when he is faced with possible death to himself. The officer aims for
center mass, which is between the neck and the abdomen.
Kleinhans said that he feels Ornelas followed proper procedure last
Tuesday according to the information he's gathered on the incident.
PECOS, July 5, 1995 - They were going to give Trevor Brazile a beer last
night, but that would have left the West of the Pecos Rodeo's 1995 All
Around Cowboy in trouble with the Law West of the Pecos.
Brazile, who graduated from high school just over a month ago, came away
as the surprise winner of the All Around title Tuesday night, as the
rodeo wrapped up its 112th anniversary show before a near-full house at
the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena.
The 18-year-old is still a few years away from being able to legally buy
a beer, but he can get a few other things after collecting $3,895 and a
specially monogrammed saddle bag while competing in calf roping and
"One of the things he wants is his Professional Rodeo Cowboys
"I'll buy may card next year. I'm rodeoing on my (PRCA) permit right
now," Brazile said.
He beat out last years All Around champion at the West of the Pecos
Rodeo, Tee Woolman, after the longtime National Finals Rodeo qualifier
missed on his final attempt, during the short go of steer roping Tuesday
Woolman, of Llano, led through the first two go rounds and ended up
second, with $3,572 in earnings.
Louisiana cowboy Chad Klein, who finished in a three-way tie for third
in bareback riding and in a two-way tie for third in bull riding, also
wound up third in the All-Around competition, taking home $3,297, while
Arnold Felts, three time Pecos Rodeo All-Around champ, including the
centennial rodeo in 1983, was fourth, taking home $2,532 overall.
Brazile's dad, Jimmy, was also in the '83 rodeo, placing second in calf
roping, and had qualified for the national finals in steer roping, so
Trevor has a strong rodeo background. Still, he admitted, "I was a
little surprised," about taking home top honors on Tuesday.
He had been to "four or five" rodeos so far this year, mostly in Texas
on the high school rodeo circuit, where he competed while attending
school at Krum, just west of Denton in North Texas.
"I just graduated a month ago," he said, adding he plans to compete in
several more events over the summer while working towards his PRCA card.
He wound up third behind Rocky Patterson of Pratt, Kan., and Johnny
Powell of Eldorado in the final standings. Patterson won with a 41.8
second time to Powell's 43.0 and Braziel's 43.8 time three attempts. In
Tuesday's finals, Powell won with a 13.2 second time, followed by Rod
Hartness of Pawhuska, Okla., with a 14 flat time, Patterson at 14.4 and
~Brazile with a 15 flat clocking.
Patterson took home a total of $3,949 for his efforts in the three
rounds of Steer roping, while Powell won $3,487 and Hartness ~collected
$3,656 in the event. For Patterson, the win came after a second place
finish last year and a sixth in 1991 and 1993.
The All Around title goes to the top money winner in multiple events.
Overall, Braziel was third earnings at at this year's rodeo, whi~ch had
a total payout of $151,866.
This year's top overall money winner actually competed before the rodeo
officially started. Rodey Lidgard of Lewisville placed first in Friday's
special `Wild Bull Riding' section, scoring 85 points to earn the
night's $1,000 bonus. The Australian native's score then stood up
through the rodeo's four regular performances, which brought his
winnings up to $6,200. Lance Harrell placed second with 83 points,
earning him 3,806, while Klein tied with Bobby Randolph for third, with
each earning $2,317. Brent Arnold of Coleman was second in winnings this
year, collecting $5,133 for taking the steer wrestling title. Arnold, a
third place finisher two years ago in Pecos, brought down his steer in
4.2 seconds on Tuesday to win the second go round, and his combined 8.8
second time was nearly three seconds better than runner-up Frank Davis
of Sonora, who had an 11.7 second time for his two attempts. Mark
Blackwell of Silver City was runner-up to Arnold in the second go round
with a 4.5 second effort.
Another rookie, Brian Leathers of Mount Calm, captured first overall in
calf roping. His 25.9 second time beat out Johnny Grimes of Kerrville by
.4 seconds and earned him a total of $3,276. In the second go round
completed Tuesday night, Leathers' 11.7 time placed him second to Rand
Cross of Decatur who was timed at 10 seconds even and won $1,752.
In bareback riding, Jeff King of Clarendon was a first time winner in
Pecos, as he shared top honors with Randy Slaughter. He also took top
honors for the first time, after second place finishes a year ago and in
1991, and thirds in 1987 and 1990. Both cowboys scored 77 points and
took home $2,226 apiece. Klein, Chris Guay of Wharton and Denny
McLanahan of Canadian, Tx. all earned $980 for their 76 point, third
Current World Championship leader Dan Etbauer of Goodwell, Okla., added
to his total with a victory in saddle bronc riding. He scored 79 points
Saturday on Copenhagen Sensation to beat out Gary McDaniel, who rode the
same horse to a 78 point score Tuesday night.
Etbauer's tide and $2,899 first prize came a year after placing fourth
in the event, and three years after his brother Dan won in Pecos. It was
also the fourth straight year the winning rider here has been aboard
In team roping, a couple of other leaders in the national standings,
Matt Tyler of Corsicana and Cody Cowden of LeGrande, finished first
overall. Their combined 19 flat time on two attempts was worth $2,265
apiece. Vance Walters of Cayuga and Coby Jones of Gatesville were second
at 22.9 seconds, while in the second go round, winners were Steve
Purcella of Hereford and Bret Tonozzi of Frutia, Colo, with an 8 second
flat time. Charles Poague and Steve Northcut were second at 8.1 seconds,
while Woolman and partner Rich Skelton finished third, with an 8.7
In barrel racing, Snyder's Sherry Johnson beat out a trio of cowgirls on
the final night to take top honors. Her 18.12 time was .05 faster than
Fawn Lee Speer of Clovis, N.M., Ginny Wilkerson of Fort Worth and Corley
Cox of Cotula, and earned her $2,194. Speer, Wilkerson and Cox took home
$1,463 apiece. Johnson's win came 15 years after she shared the honor in
a three-way tie at the 1980 West of the Pecos Rodeo, but this was the
first Pecos Rodeo belt buckle she took home. "I lost the nip that year,"
she said after the awards were handed out at the conclusion of Tuesday's
show. "There are only about three or four rodeos that are special, and
this is one buckle you really want to get."
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324 S. Cedar, Box 2057, Pecos TX 79772
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