2018-02-07 / Front Page

Brother against brother; shooting part of ongoing feud

BY ALLEN ESSEX
Reporter


WILLACY COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICERS, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, Texas Rangers, Raymondville police and constables all took part in the response to a home west of Raymondville where a shootout between long-feuding brothers took place just before dawn Thursday. 
(Photo by Erica Ysasi) WILLACY COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICERS, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, Texas Rangers, Raymondville police and constables all took part in the response to a home west of Raymondville where a shootout between long-feuding brothers took place just before dawn Thursday. (Photo by Erica Ysasi) Police agencies converged on a Raymondville home shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday after one brother shot another, likely in self defense, in another chapter of a long-running feud.

Steve Hommel 57, allegedly pointed a rifle at one of his two younger brothers who lived on the property. That brother, Kenneth, fired a pistol at Steve, wounding him, before running out the back of the family home, Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence said.

One family friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Raymondville Chronicle that Steve Hommel fired a deer rifle at brother Kenneth Hommel, who was still in bed, narrowly missing him. Then Kenneth fired a handgun at Steve several times, wounding him twice.


Steve Hommel Steve Hommel The friend said Steve had brought several items with him to the family home that could be used for kidnapping. The rifle was already in the house and Steve brought the correct caliber of ammunition with him so he could use the rifle.

On Sunday, Steve Hommel was released from Valley Bap- tist Medical Center-Harlingen and then booked in the Willacy County Jail. He was arraigned by Justice of the Peace Juan Salinas on two counts of attempted murder, one count of burglary with intent to do bodily harm and violation of a protective order. Four bonds of $500,000 each were set.

The shooting incident took place within hours of a stabbing incident in Raymondville, Spence said. He isn’t sure if the full moon was a contributing factor but police, fire fighters and paramedics often notice an uptick in violent or strange incidents during a full moon period, he said.

Hommel family members had obtained a protective court order prohibiting Steve Hommel from going to the family home, the sheriff said. Steve Hommel had obtained a similar order against his family, the sheriff said.

Steve Hommel had gained entry to the main house with a key and took the rifle he knew was in the house, then pointed it at brother Kenneth, who had grabbed a handgun from his nightstand, the sheriff said.

It is unclear to authorities if Steve had pointed the rifle at Kenneth, or fired it, but Kenneth fired at Steve with his pistol, wounding him before running out the back door, Spence said.

Running past a smaller house behind the main house, Kenneth yelled to the youngest brother, Jeff, that Steve had a gun, Spence said. As Kenneth peeked out the front door of the smaller house, holding a handgun and a flashlight, Steve fired at him, barely missing him, but a bullet struck the door frame.

Kenneth and Jeff then ran out into a field to take cover in the darkness, Spence said. The brothers had already called 9- 1-1.

In addition to sheriff ’s deputies, Raymondville city police, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, Texas Rangers, Willacy County Emergency Medical Service and constables all began to arrive, the sheriff said. Steve Hommel was confronted by officers who ordered him to put down the rifle. He was taken into custody.

He had entered the property around 6 a.m. after hiding his motorcycle near some old oil field equipment and then covered the motorcycle with brush.

Sheriff’s officers and police later used a drone to find the route Steve Hommel took to the family property from where he left the motorcycle before walking in the dark to the home.

The father of the brothers, Robert Louis Hommel, 76, of Raymondville, was a building contractor, before he died May 20, 2013.

Their mother, Rosie Lee Hommel, has been recently hospitalized for a stroke. She had been paying Steve’s living expenses for years, but Kenneth and Jeff had recently stopped paying those bills, including Steve’s rent at the Antlers Inn, the sheriff said.

As sheriff’s investigators, Raymondville police, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and Texas Rangers scoured the Hommel property for evidence, a constable guarded Steve Hommel’s room at the Antlers Inn south of Raymondville.

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