Edna resident, 28, dies in shooting

Kathryn Cargo By Kathryn Cargo

Nov. 27, 2017 at 10:18 p.m.
Updated Nov. 27, 2017 at 10:35 p.m.

Jose Lopez points to pictures of his friend, James Barrios, who was killed Sunday. "I'm lost, We're all lost. We're confused," Lopez said about  Barrios' death. "He was a good dude, a family man."

Jose Lopez points to pictures of his friend, James Barrios, who was killed Sunday. "I'm lost, We're all lost. We're confused," Lopez said about Barrios' death. "He was a good dude, a family man."   Nicolas Galindo for The Victoria Advocate

EDNA - Jose Lopez missed work and slept until 2 p.m. Monday because he kept hoping he would wake up from the nightmare of his best friend, 27-year-old James Barrios, being killed.

"My sister-in-law took my kids because I haven't told my kids. I'm scared to tell them because they used to call him uncle," the 34-year-old Edna native said with tears welling in his eyes. "I had nightmares all night."

Lopez and about 20 of Barrios' close friends gathered at Lopez's house to pay their respects to their loved one. The group cried, smiled and laughed as they recalled Barrios' life.

The shooting victim was a family man and had two children of his own, Lopez said. He cared for and loved his girlfriend's children just as much as he loved their 4-year-old boy.

"My dude was a family man - he was a brother, he was a son, he was a dad. He was one of the best dudes that you could know," Lopez said. "When people focus more on their kids than their partner's - that wasn't the case with James. The case was he focused on all of them and he loved them the same."

Edna police are investigating the fatal shooting at Cottonwood Apartments, 1400 N. Wells St., where Barrios was shot once in the face Sunday night.

Detectives are searching for a 40-year old Houston man they think shot Barrios.

"They had a mutual acquaintance," Edna Police Chief Clinton Wooldridge said about the victim and the suspected gunman. Lopez said he thinks the mutual acquaintance is Barrios' girlfriend.

A warrant was issued Monday afternoon by Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Cyndi Poulton for Quincy Muhammed Wright charging him with first-degree murder.

Wright was previously convicted in 1996 in Harris County for attempted murder and was sentenced to 15 years, according to court records.

Lopez considered Barrios a younger brother and met him 15 years ago. His favorite memories with him are the times when the two barbecued together with their children.

"He used to babysit, and he would go to my house and watch the kids," Lopez said. "That's how much of a brother he was. That's how close we got. I trusted him with my family, and he'll watch my kids and anything I needed."

The past few years, Barrios didn't hang out with his friends as often because he was focused on his family, Lopez said.

Barrios worked several jobs but was most recently a construction worker for Rusty Smith Construction, Lopez said. He helped repair homes that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey. He was supposed to start on a new house this week.

"It's heartbreaking - we're all still lost right now," Lopez said.

As well as a construction worker and a family man, Barrios was a talented rapper, Lopez said. He was one of the founding fathers of the rap group called Down 2 Ride, which included a total of six close friends and began in 2011. Barrios could freestyle.

The group would open for large rap artists who came to Victoria and travel to other towns to perform, Lopez said.

"We made a CD because we figured we could rap - and we took over the game," he said. "We were just rapping everywhere - you know what I'm saying. He was one of the main ones."

About two years ago, the group slowed down to focus on their families, but recently Lopez and Barrios talked about getting the group going again to make another CD.

"I was already making moves, talking to a dude from El Campo for studio time and this happens," he said. "That's what's driving me crazy right now. You never think this would happen in a small town."

Britny Castro, 30, of Edna, knew Barrios for several years. Some of Barrios' friends who didn't get along came together Monday night to honor him, she said.

"(They're) learning to get along for him," she said.

Barrios was laid-back and friendly to everyone he met, Castro said.

"When he first approached you, he wanted to make you laugh," she said. "We had deep conversations about life. It's crazy. It's so hard to believe. The hardest thing is believing it."

This story was updated Nov. 28, 2017 to correct James Barrios' age.



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