Brett and Stephanie Jones said Curtis Shelley’s death is not going to be in vain.
They are not mad at the Killeen Police Department, but at a Texas law that allows another person to shoot someone point blank and use the self-defense claim.
Brett Jones is the cousin of Shelley, who was shot Nov. 12, and died later at the hospital.
His family thought they would be receiving funds from the Texas Attorney General’s Crime Victims Compensation Program.
After initially approving the family’s request, however, the program has declined the assistance.
This is due to the release of a video, according to Shelley’s family, which purportedly shows Shelley’s role in the incident.
“That was not self-defense ... it was murder,” Stephanie Jones said. “We released the video (recorded by a neighbor) four days after the killing because we were angry, frustrated and broken-hearted.”
Officers responded to a shooting call at 2:10 p.m. Nov. 12 in the 1000 block of Cedar Drive, according to Killeen police spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez.
Officers found Shelley with a gunshot wound. Shelley was taken to the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood in critical condition and later died, police said.
Police said a man was questioned. His name was not released by police because he has not been charged with a crime. The man and Shelley have had “an ongoing dispute.” The two were involved in an argument when the man who police questioned fired a gun at Shelley, according to a police news release.
The video shows the two men circling one another like heavyweight boxers in the opening round. Shelley held his arms up a number of times and was finally shot by the man.
“We wish he (Shelley) would have just walked away,” Stephanie Jones said.
Police officials said the Texas Rangers were invited to assist in the investigation into Shelley’s death after the alleged shooter’s connection to a department employee was discovered.
“In the interests of transparency, the police department has invited the Texas Rangers to review and assist in the progress of this investigation,” a news release said.
The couple described Shelley as a jack-of-all-trades, who was shot after walking home from helping his neighbor put together a swingset. He played the guitar and worked as a carpenter and in construction before his role as a cook at Sonic Drive-In. He lived with and took care of a relative who suffers from dementia, Stephanie Jones said.
“He just had a real big heart, just a humongous heart,” Brett Jones said.
Diana Shelley raised Curtis Shelley after his mother died when Curtis was a child. Diana said Curtis wasn’t perfect but he deserves a proper funeral.
Diana wants to see her grandson buried next to his mother, but the nearly $9,800 in expenses aren’t available to the family.
The family believed they were going to receive $6,500 from the state’s Crime Victims Compensation Program. After the agency talked to detectives about the case, the money was denied, according to Stephanie Jones.
Beverly Maire, Shelley’s fiance, told the media, “It’s hard trying to earn money, trying to pay bills; everything combined together is really, really stressful. Anything the community can do would be much appreciated so please come together and try to help.”
The Texas Attorney General’s offices were closed for the holiday weekend, so no comment was available regarding the Crime Victims Compensation Program decision in Shelley’s case.
A GoFundMe page was established to help the family with expenses. The family expects to have his body cremated and to hold a private ceremony for Shelley, according to his cousin.
Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Killeen is in charge of arrangements.
“We wanted a funeral and proper burial for him,” Stephanie Jones said. “There is something wrong with Texas law when someone abuses the system in a matter like this.”
The family said they are considering an appeal of the Crime Victims Compensation Program and holding a rally to raise awareness of the case.