Father. Husband. Brother. Friend.
Those were just a few of the words used Monday to describe Robert “Bobby” Hornsby as news of his death spread across Bell County and throughout Texas.
Hornsby, a 32-year-old Killeen police officer, was killed in a shootout at Grandon Manor Apartments early Sunday.
Hornsby worked on the force for four years and was on KPD’s SWAT team. He is survived by his wife, a 4-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son. He was the first Killeen police officer shot and killed in the line of duty since 1917.
Hornsby and fellow KPD SWAT officer, Juan E. Obregon Jr., 33, were both shot during a gunbattle with a man armed with an AK-47 assault rifle at Grandon Manor Apartments in Killeen late Saturday night. Obregon, a 10-year KPD veteran, was shot in the leg and was listed in stable condition Monday.
The name of the male shooter, who also was killed, is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification, police said. Neighbors described him as a soldier who had recently returned from deployment.
The shootout sparked after police received a 911 call complaining that the unidentified man was carrying a rifle and threatening people in the pool area of the apartment complex.
When police attempted to speak with the armed male, he fired once, according to the KPD. After police tried to take the suspect into custody, the man then backed into his apartment and, armed with an AK-47, began “shooting at the officers,” fatally wounding Hornsby.
On Monday, Hornsby’s close friend and Temple High School classmate, KPD Detective Ramiro Martinez said he had been with Hornsby’s body since about 2 a.m. Sunday, leaving only for three hours to take a shower.
“I will continue to be by him until he’s laid to rest,” Martinez said.
Martinez, who has been with KPD for seven years, said he remembered when Hornsby called him 4½ years ago to tell him he was joining the force.
“I was excited,” Martinez said. “I told him the type of person he was — his morals, his values, his personality — would be a strength to the department.”
Cheerful, dedicated and patient, Hornsby bridged the gap between tough and laid-back personalities on the force, Martinez said.
After joining KPD, Hornsby showed interest in the SWAT team, which accepted him eight months ago.
“He didn’t make it his first or second attempt, but he kept coming back, kept fighting,” Martinez said. “It was a proud moment for me, and definitely a proud moment for his family. ... Even though we’re not related by blood and don’t even look alike, it was like having my baby brother there with me.”
Martinez talked Friday afternoon with Hornsby, who told him he was worn out from SWAT training.
“But he was still smiling about it, and I loved it,” Martinez said
After Hornsby’s autopsy was completed Sunday at Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas, one car from every police force between Dallas and Killeen drove in a procession, said Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin.
Hornsby’s body was brought to Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Killeen, Martinez said.
Friends of Hornsby, including Rachel Holman, have organized an online fundraiser for Hornsby’s family.
As of 5:35 p.m. Monday, 372 people had donated more than $26,150, surpassing a goal of $25,000. The goal is now $35,000.
Visitation for Hornsby will be from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, and a memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. Burial will follow at the Killeen City Cemetery.
“There’s not one person at the department that hasn’t been scarred by his loss, our loss,” Martinez said. “That’s a scar we’ll forever take to our grave.”
A donation website for the family of slain Killeen police officer and Temple High School graduate Robert Hornsby was set up at www.hornsbyfamilyfund.com.
A local bank account was set up at Extraco Banks, Benefit for Robert Hornsby, account number 20396883.
Checks may be mailed to: Extraco Banks, Attn.: Benefit of Robert Hornsby, P.O. Box 2330, Harker Heights, TX 76548