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Public Safety
Minor arrested in connection with Goliad shooting; another youth remains at large

A minor was taken into custody Thursday, while another is on the run after the Goliad County Sheriff’s Office issued arrest warrants for both boys in connection with the death of Nathan Cortinas.

Deputies arrested a 15-year-old boy late Wednesday at his residence on charges of burglary, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, endangering a child, deadly conduct, engaging in organized criminal activity and theft of a firearm, all of which are felonies, Sheriff Kirby Brumby said in a news release.

The minor was placed in custody of the Victoria County Juvenile Detention Center during an initial hearing before Judge Mike Bennett on Thursday, according the release. His next hearing is scheduled for July 25.

The second suspect, a 16-year-old boy, is currently a fugitive from justice, Brumby said. He is charged with burglary, theft of a firearm and engaging in organized criminal activity.

Officials did not release the names of the two teens because of their ages.

Contributed photo 

Brianna Bexley and Nathan Cortinas

Investigators do not think either suspect was at the scene of the shooting, where Cortinas and his girlfriend, Brianna Bexley, 18, were both shot June 13 while in a vehicle with their baby, according to the news release. The child was not injured and Bexley has since been released from Brooks Medical Center in San Antonio, where she was treated for a bullet lodged between two vertebrae.

“These charges are the result of our ongoing investigation,” Capt. John Pape said. “We believe they were involved in certain events that led up to the shooting. We are unable to provide any additional details at this time since this is an ongoing criminal investigation.”

Contributed photo 

Daniel Mendoza

The warrants came days after four adults were arrested in connection with the shooting, following the initial arrest of 18-year-old Daniel Mendoza, who fled the scene of the shooting before he was taken into custody by deputies June 14 on charges including capital murder.

Pape said Monday that Mendoza was identified as the alleged shooter, but officials charged April Ara Beveridge, 47; and Jade Ayana Culpepper, 36; Jose Ignacio Hernandez, 18; with capital murder because of Texas’ law of parties.

Although investigators continue to look into the motives behind Cortinas’ killing, Pape said they have so far determined the violence resulted from a dispute over $60.

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Karnes county
Karnes County natural gas facility burns just before dawn

A Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline facility in Karnes County caught fire Thursday morning.

About 5:40 a.m., emergency dispatchers received warning of the blaze and dispatched firefighters and sheriff’s deputies to the facility, said Emergency Management Coordinator and County Commissioner Shelby Dupnik.

Located at 8724 County Road 326, about two miles west of Runge, the facility pressurizes natural gas for pipeline transport, Dupnik said.

In spite of numerous safety features, a gas compressor at the location is suspected of failing and starting the blaze, he said.

No one was reported injured, and authorities have no reason to suspect foul play.

After learning about the fire, Kinder Morgan employees entered the site to shut down a pipeline feeding the compressor, Dupnik said.

Firefighters from Karnes City and Runge then allowed the fire to burn out. By 7 a.m., the flames had been extinguished.

Dupnik said he was unsure about the damage at the facility but added the compressor was likely destroyed. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was notified about the fire, but their representatives could not be reached Thursday.

Dupnik said the fire appeared to burn cleanly, and he did not suspect any threat to nearby homes.

Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Katherine Hill said her company also did not suspect any environmental impact.

“At this time, the company believes there are no impacts to the nearby community or environment. An investigation will be conducted into the exact cause of the fire,” she said.


A Kinder Morgan natural gas facility burned Thursday about 2 miles west of Runge.

Low pressure system intensifies, named Tropical Storm Barry

Updated 7 p.m.:

A low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico has intensified into a tropical storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Named “Tropical Storm Barry,” meteorologists said it is expected to bring potentially life-threatening storm surge, rainfall and wind hazards to the central Gulf Coast during the next several days.

Although Barry is expected to make landfall near Louisiana, the Crossroads could see scattered rainfall and storms over the next few days. The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for the region Thursday, in light of expected isolated to scattered thunderstorms and possible coastal flooding and rip current risks through the weekend.

Nevertheless, Barry is not expected to pose any considerable threat to the Crossroads, a National Weather Service meteorologist said.



The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on Potential Tropical Cyclone Two, located over the northern Gulf of Mexico.

* Formation chance through 48 hours...high...near 100 percent.

* Formation chance through 5 days...high...near 100 percent.

A low pressure system in the north Gulf of Mexico was expected to become a tropical depression Thursday.

Located just south of the Louisiana coast as of Thursday morning, the system was not expected to directly hit South Texas, according to a National Hurricane Center bulletin.

“This system is expected to continue drifting west across the northern Gulf of Mexico today, before turning northwest on Friday,” the bulletin states. “The system is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it approaches the Louisiana Coast Saturday.”

But it was expected to bring storm surge, heavy rains and hurricane conditions across the North-Central Gulf Coast during the next few days.

As that system intensified, meteorologists also began tracking a low pressure wave in the mid-Atlantic that had only a slight chance of forming a tropical depression in the next 48 hours.

Although both low pressure systems were distant, the Crossroads was forecast to receive rain and scattered storms into next week.

Thursday was predicted to be hot but also potentially wet with a 40% chance for showers and thunderstorms with partly sunny skies and a high of 96 degrees. Heat index values were expected to reach 105 degrees.

That night, there was a 20% chance for showers and storms with mostly cloudy skies and a low of 78 degrees.

Friday, a 30% chance for rain and mostly cloudy skies were forecast with a high of 98 degrees and heat index value of 105 degrees.

Partly cloudy skies and a low of 77 degrees were expected that night.

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T.S.I. Laboratories cements 25th year in business

Breana Tater never planned to join the family business; in fact, she didn’t understand what her father did until she joined the company about three years ago.

“People were like, ‘What does your dad do?’ I was like, “Rocks! Dirt! Concrete!’ and that was about the extent of what I knew,” Breana said. “I understand what we do now and it’s really interesting, there’s a lot more to it then I ever could’ve imagined.”

Shelby Miller | 

Rene Cantu, of La Feria, works on determining plasticity in soils at T.S.I. Laboratories Inc. “It’s a lot of weighing and drying material,” Cantu said.

By joining the company, Tater, who studied human development and family studies in college, became the third generation of the Tater family to be professionals in geotechnical and construction materials testing. She and her brother Seth Tater, who also works at the family business, are building upon the strong foundation their grandfather built when he first entered the industry in 1958.

In 1983, Breana and Seth’s dad, Mike Tater, was a 20-year-old student at Victoria College when he started working at the company their father co-owned, Trinity Testing and Inspection.

While at Victoria College, Mike Tater met the woman who would become his wife, Donna Tater, who began working for her husband after he founded in 1994 T.S.I Laboratories Inc., which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Shelby Miller | 

Alonso Gonzales, of Victoria, tests materials at T.S.I. Laboratories Inc. to determine how much pressure the soil can withstand at its place of origin.

Until recently, three generations of the family worked at their business at 1810 S. Laurent St. Mike Tater’s father, B.J. Tater, 85, recently retired after having worked in the industry for more than 60 years.

Mike Tater said changes in the industry during the years have been primarily due to the increasing technological capability of testing machines. What sets their business apart, he said, are its state-of-the-art machines that are owned by few shops in the industry, even those in bigger cities such as Houston. These machines provide information about soil settlement, its strength and permeability. All their testing, Mike Tater said, allows the company to make recommendations for construction projects.

Rene Cantu, who has worked for T.S.I Laboratories for 14 years, compared the company’s taking measurements to the work of a nurse providing vital information.

“We’re like the nurses, the engineer is the doctor,” Cantu said.

At any given time, Mike Tater said the company is working on about 40 projects, ranging in scope across a variety of different industries. The company employs about 50 individuals across various technical and professional backgrounds who work throughout South and Central Texas.

The hub of the operation is in Victoria, where Mike Tater and his family work.

He said working with family has its pros and cons, but that he likes it because it strengthens their bond.

“Everybody knows what kind of day you had,” Mike Tater said. “I see them more, spend more time with them.”