Lufkin murder victim's family wants to know why?

family photograph of Joseph Cooper
family photograph of Joseph Cooper

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Police arrested a second suspect, this time a young woman, for the January murder of a Lufkin man, shot in front of his own home.

The victim's family members describe the murder of their loved one, Joseph Cooper, 63, as "a senseless crime".

Mary Houston has already suffered the deaths of two siblings. Now, she's coping with the loss of another brother and best friend.

"He tried to help people is all he tried to do and I'm going to miss him," said Houston.

Faith and family helps her endure the pain.

"I have to forgive them for what they did, even though I don't understand," she said.

Now that 19-year-old Elton "June" Gibson Jr. and his girlfriend, 19-year-old Kendall Thompson are charged with the murder, the family has one question.


"What would make someone do that?" said Cooper's niece, Donnya Myers.

She and Houston feel the shooters acted carelessly, without thought.

"The young people who did this needs to think about how their actions have trickled down," said Myers.

According to the arrest affidavit, there was a fight that broke out at Cooper's house sometime before he was shot. The report goes on to say there were two separate sets of gunshots fired that night and it was enough to take Cooper's life.

The affidavit details Thompson's involvement in the scuffle. It says she complained to Gibson about a man shoving her in the face. It goes on to describe how Thompson drove Gibson and another person back to the scene, and bullets came from the car she was driving.

"Bullets have no name on them and you know they took a life that they can't give back to us," said Myers.

The report also outlines conversations between the couple, while Gibson was in jail on a probation violation.

According to the affidavit, sometime between March 13th and March 20th, Gibson told his girlfriend, "If worse comes to worse she was not going down. Gibson, nicknamed "June" told Kendall, "I will take that."

For Joseph Cooper's family, they hope their unanswered questions will come out at trial, so they will know, why?

The family says they're thankful for the investigators persistence in bringing some type of justice for their family.

Detective J.B. Smith with the Lufkin Police Department said Corp. Travis Strickland and Det. Gabe Wall headed up the investigation that led to both arrests.

Both Gibson and Thompson are being held in the Angelina County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

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