Family, friends mourn shooting victim

Kathryn Cargo By Kathryn Cargo

Feb. 11, 2018 at 9:30 p.m.
Updated Feb. 12, 2018 at 7:53 a.m.

Justin Taylor, 32, was fatally shot at his residence in the 1000 block of Murphy Road on Saturday night.

Justin Taylor, 32, was fatally shot at his residence in the 1000 block of Murphy Road on Saturday night.   Kathryn Cargo for The Victoria Advocate

Justin Taylor was a father of three and loved by many.

"He was a good person," said his ex-wife, Loretta Garza, 30, of Refugio. "What breaks my heart - his mother, she's going through so much right now. She lost her only son she had. For this to happen - it's unreal."

Taylor, 32, died Saturday night after being shot, said Chief Deputy Roy Boyd, of the Victoria County Sheriff's Office. Deputies responded at 9 p.m. to the 1000 block of Murphy Road to a reported gunshot victim. Bianca Lopez, 23, called 911 and was present at the time of the shooting. As of Sunday night, no arrests have been made regarding the shooting, said Ward Wyatt, sheriff's office spokesman.

"There is still a forensics investigation going on to determine exactly what happened," he said.

Garza said she met Taylor when she was 15 years old and was with him on and off for about 12 years. The two have three children together ages 7, 10 and 13 years old.

"He was an awesome father," Garza said. "He would do anything he could for his kids. He would give them the world if he could. They loved him."

Garza and Taylor divorced in 2007 and tried to get back together afterward, but split again when they both realized their relationship was fading away and they started to argue, she said.

Garza's children spent the summer with their father on Murphy Road, and Lopez was staying with him, Garza said.

"They were telling me she was not a very good person," she said of her children. "They were always fighting and everything. Their dad would send them outside, and they could hear them yelling and screaming at each other."

Garza said family members were telling her Lopez reported to authorities she acted in self-defense. Lopez could not be reached for comment.

"It just breaks my heart my kids lost their father," she said. "She took that away from them. They're not going to get that back."

Wyatt said the District Attorney's Office is helping with the investigation. District Attorney Stephen Tyler said the sheriff's office did not have probable cause at this time to believe Lopez committed a crime.

"They still have several more people to talk to. Until you have probable cause, you cannot arrest a person," he said. "It's yet to be determined if it was an act of self-defense. There was no probable cause to believe there was an offense."

Brandi Borjas, 33, lives down the street from Taylor on Murphy Road. She said Taylor has lived on his family's property there for at least five years. She also said Taylor worked in the oil field.

The two went to high school together in Refugio.

"He was a good-hearted person," she said. "He's a gentle giant. Everyone has trouble in their life, but no one deserves to die like that. It's heart-breaking."

Taylor would always wave to Borjas when he saw her and had a friendly nature, she said.

"He's a sweetheart. He's well-mannered," she said. "He's always respectful and always stopped to say hello and checked on people."

Taylor's close friend, Skye Sanchez, 28, Victoria, agreed with Garza and Borjas. She said he was a man of character and cared about others.

Sanchez didn't know much about Taylor's relationship with Lopez, but she thinks it was short-lived, she said.

"When I was in his presence, he made sure my wellbeing was kept," Sanchez said. "He would open and close doors for me. He's a man of integrity and man of science when it came to wisdom. I can't say it enough - he was a really good man. He loved being in love."



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