Neighbors describe scene of fatal Lufkin shooting

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LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A justice of the peace identified the man killed in a shooting Tuesday night as Robert Darnell Bennett.

Justice of the Peace Billy Ball said he pronounced Bennett, 26, dead following a shooting around 10 p.m. on California Boulevard.

Officers responded to a disturbance-in-progress call at a house located at 1400 California Boulevard. Lufkin Police Lieutenant Ronnie Larue said dispatchers relayed to first responders that shots had been fired. Once inside the house, police found an man with an apparent gunshot wound. Larue said officers checked for a pulse, but the victim was unresponsive.

No arrests have been made in the case, but Lufkin Police say they have identified a suspect(s).

In learning more about the victim, court records show Bennett has a criminal history. Bennett's record includes a few drug convictions. He was last arrested in November on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.

For neighbors on California Boulevard, the shock of gunshots Tuesday night isn't fading.

Janie Medrano lives across the street.

"We came back out because we saw the lady just like screaming and yelling something happened to her baby," Medrano said.

Another neighbor says he heard the gunfire.

"The story I was told -- a guy walked in the front door," said Clayton Syzdek. "The victim asked the guy if he was the one who called him on a private phone call. He said 'yes,' and then there were two gunshots."

Neighbors say Bennett, his girlfriend and a child were new to the neighborhood.

"Been there for about a month," Syzdek said. "Honestly, there's been three or four families that lived there since I've been here. So it's kind of like a revolving door over there."

Others noticed the activity too, but say nothing seemed unusual for a young family.

"I've been seeing some guys in there, sitting in the front of the house talking, laughing, and not trouble," Medrano said.

Now it's up to Lufkin Police investigators to uncover what ended the 26-year-old's life. Tuesday night a crime scene unit spent hours collecting fingerprints, bullet casings and taking measurements inside the house.

"Any investigator will tell you that we're actually looking for the truth," said Larue. "We're trying to find out what happened."

Neighbors want peace of mind too, knowing someone won't bring a similar tragedy to their doorstep.

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