Daytime shooting injures two (video)

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Jan. 7, 2013 at 3:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 6, 2013 at 7:07 p.m.

What neighbors and family members describe as an ongoing feud between two men ended in gunfire Monday afternoon.

Two people in a tan truck parked in the 2700 block of Leary Lane were taken to a Victoria hospital about 2 p.m. after police say they sped away from Crestwood Apartment complex, where they were shot at moments earlier.

At the complex on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Azalea Street, police carrying guns surrounded a building and ordered two men to come outside with their hands up. They complied.

Norman Benivamonde, 18, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The other person was not charged, said Sgt. Eline Moya, police spokeswoman.

An investigation is ongoing, and SWAT was called in later to secure the area, Moya said.

The victims' names were not released Monday, but they are described as 18- and 20-year-old Victoria men.

Benivamonde's aunt, Rosemary Silvas, 32, was asleep on the couch in her apartment when she heard the footsteps outside.

Benivamonde, who visits routinely and has a criminal history in Corpus Christi, had only been in the kitchen for about 10 minutes making hot wings when police knocked on the door, she said. They asked if he was home.

Benivamonde's friend who peeked out the window to see what was going on was quickly spotted by authorities.

Later, Silvas gave investigators permission to search her apartment. She said they found two or three guns wrapped inside a discarded pair of pajama pants and stuffed inside an upstairs attic she didn't know could be unbolted.

The mother of four said she didn't know Benivamonde carried weapons, let alone stashed them in her home.

She wondered what would've happened if her curious children had happened upon them, especially since one of the guns looked similar to a toy they often play with.

"I would've never even thought to look up there," she said.

Silvas said Benivamonde started fighting with one of the victims after the victim punched Silvas' pregnant daughter, who is Benivamonde's cousin, in the face during an argument about the Dallas Cowboys about a month ago.

Ever since then, the victim would drive by the family's apartment with the window rolled down and flash a gun symbol, she said.

Three weeks ago, she said, they chased the shooting victim down the street with a hammer after he made the threatening gestures toward Benivamonde when he was playing with Silvas' 11-year-old son.

Meanwhile, neighbors who gathered on their stoops were shocked by what happened.

Darron O'Neal, 29, was inside playing his PlayStation when the shots rang out.

He remembered the previous fights Silvas spoke about.

"I guess when they got tired of it, they just opened fire," he said of the taunting.

O'Neal said he's planning to move from the area because he and his wife have to call police there every other day. He spent the remainder of the afternoon playing catch with kids in the neighborhood.

"Thankfully, when all of this was going on, they (my children) were in school, so they were safe," he said.

A few doors down from O'Neal, Deborah Perry, 57, said she was on her way to the apartment complex's office to ask that her broken back door be fixed when police cordoned off the area.

"That's when they told us to get back," said Perry, who has lived there for a few months.

"This is the first time I've ever seen something like that," she said. "Most of the time, I just see it on TV."

Silvas worried about her family's future.

"Now, because of his doing, who knows if we're going to get kicked out," she said.

Advocate reporter Dianna Wray contributed to this report.



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