School tests emergency system; victim explains feud
BY JESSICA PRIEST and CAROLINA ASTRAIN - JPRIEST@VICAD.COM and CASTRAIN@VICAD.COM
Jan. 8, 2013 at 6:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 8, 2013 at 7:09 p.m.
Victoria Independent School District officials talked more Tuesday about safety measures taken during a neighborhood shooting Monday.
Shields Magnet Elementary School principal Armando Villarreal Jr. sent a letter home to parents, informing them about the action taken in response to a nearby search for a shooting suspect.
In Monday's reports of the school's response, administrators informed the public that phone calls had been made to parents of students at Shields regarding the nearby search. However, a glitch in EduLink, the district's primary emergency response system used for communicating emergencies, absences and tardy reminders to parents, prevented calls from reaching parents.
Another call was made to parents at 5 p.m. Tuesday to test the automated system after changes were made to resolve Monday's glitch.
"I sincerely apologize for the issue and assure you that it has been resolved," Villarreal wrote Tuesday. "We will use the events of yesterday to review what we did and what we can do to better our systems."
In his letter sent home with students Tuesday afternoon, Villarreal requested parents contact the school Wednesday if they do not receive the automated call.
Meanwhile, one of the men shot at the Crestwood apartment complex Monday afternoon was recovering Tuesday from his injuries.
Police have not yet released the names of the victims, but one, Joseph Ray Pena, 18, came forward to explain some of what led to the shooting.
Pena said the feud between him and Norman Benivamonde, an 18-year-old man Victoria police arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, started after he accidentally tapped his ex-girlfriend, who is Benivamonde's cousin, on the cheek while they were play wrestling.
"It's not like I did it on purpose. I would never put my hands on a girl like that," Pena said.
Pena said he and the other victim, whose name was not released by police Tuesday, were driving in the Crestwood Apartment complex to look for his 2-year-old pug that was missing after their home was burglarized the night before.
The other victim is described as a 20-year-old Victoria man.
After the men were wounded, they drove to a home in the 2700 block of Leary Lane, where they were taken by ambulance to Citizens Medical Center.
Sgt. Eline Moya, a spokeswoman for the Victoria Police Department, said investigators do not think the shooting is gang-related. She also would not say what, if anything, was found during a search of the apartment where the suspects were. The investigation is ongoing.