Category Archives: Community Losses

Memorial service held for “forgotten” homeless man

JonesAnthony Craig Jones was known around the Irving area for almost four decades as a local homeless person that residents often saw as they drove or walked through town. He was most likely mentally ill, but was a peaceful person.

His body was discovered last month in a building on a property across from an elementary school. The medical examiner estimated that he had been dead for about six months. He was identified using his dental records.

No one knows exactly what happened, but Jones was found under a blanket in a sleeping position. His death is not currently considered a homicide, and there is no information about any involvement with drugs and/or alcohol. He was estimated to be in his late 50’s at the time of discovery.

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The building where Jones’s body was discovered

Those who knew him have said that he was a good guy with a lot of problems and no real resources.

“Anthony was a special spirit and it saddens me to hear of the manner in which he was discovered deceased in the old African American Community of Bear Creek recently,” said Anthony Bond, who is a leading Irving civil rights activist and founder of the Irving Chapter of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “Most of the black residents in Bear Creek, both on the Irving and Grand Prairie side, were familiar with, or knew Anthony. Jesus loves the homeless like Anthony just as much as He loves all of His children.

“I pray that Anthony’s passing will awaken the desire in us here in the City of Irving to do more for our growing homeless neighbors. Irving needs some transitional housing [or something similar] for the homeless,” Bond said.

A Memorial was held for Jones on Saturday, August 8, arranged by Irving City Councilman Dennis Webb, who is also the pastor of Bear Creek Community Church. Webb also officiated. Many citizens came out to remember and pay their respects for Anthony’s life.

Former Irving City Councilwoman Sharon Barbosa-Crain said, “No one should die all alone like Anthony did, and that we here in the City of Irving can and must do better in looking out for our homeless neighbors.”

Pastor Webb has created a GoFundMe account to raise money for services for the homeless in Irving in hopes to avoid another situation like Anthony Jones.

**Slideshow of pictures from the Memorial provided by Anthony Bond**

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23-Year-Old Texas Officer Killed In Crash Caused By Wrong-Way Driver

Yarbrough-PowellA 23-year-old Beaumont, Texas officer was killed early Sunday in a crash caused by a driver going the wrong way, police said.

Beaumont Police Chief James Singletary said two of the department’s officers were going northbound on Cardinal Drive near Highway 347 at around 2:30 a.m. when their vehicle was hit head-on by a Ford Mustang going southbound.

Officer Sheena Yarbrough-Powell died from her injuries, while her partner was treated for “severe” injuries at a hospital. The surviving officer faces a “long road to recovery” after being released from the hospital, Singletary said.

Read more from DFWCBSLocal…

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Grand Prairie NAACP holds rally to protest police brutality

This gallery contains 1 photos.

By Stacey Doud, EDITOR’S CORNER I attended a “Solidarity Press Conference” on June 7 that was sponsored by the NAACP in Grand Prairie (GPNAACP). Not only was it an assignment, but I am also an active volunteer for GPNAACP. “Why?” … Continue reading

Chris Kraft, NASA’s first flight director, dies at 95

By Amanda Jackson, CNN

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NASA Mission Control founder Chris Kraft in the old Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in 2011.

Chris Kraft, NASA’s first flight director, died Monday, two days after the agency celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, according to NASA. He was 95.

“America has truly lost a national treasure today with the passing of one of NASA’s earliest pioneers — flight director Chris Kraft,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement. “We send our deepest condolences to the Kraft family. Chris was one of the core team members that helped our nation put humans in space and on the Moon, and his legacy is immeasurable.”

Read more from CNN…

2-year-old boy reported missing in Denton found dead in vehicle

By Claire Z. Cardona and Loyd Brumfield

Updated at 8:40 a.m. to indicate that the child has died.

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Sarbesh Gurung (Denton Police Department)

A 2-year-old boy reported missing in Denton was found dead in a vehicle Wednesday morning.

Denton police made the announcement during a news conference shortly after Sarbesh Gurung’s body was found.

The vehicle was in “pretty close proximity” to where Sarbesh lived, Denton Police Chief Frank Dixon said.

Read more from the Dallas News…

Southlake DPS Press Release regarding Los Angeles Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs

PRESS RELEASE

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Editor’s Corner: Officer’s death is another blow to kindness and compassion for others

By Stacey Doud

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Castaneda

A Grand Prairie police officer, AJ Castaneda, age 38, was killed around 10:30am on June 7 while checking radar speeds on the shoulder of the George Bush Turnpike. A 17-year-old driver hit the officer’s vehicle and the officer fell off of the overpass onto the lower highway, about 20 feet below. He died at an Arlington hospital about 30 minutes later.

The person who came upon the accident and reported it was an officer from another city. He had the brains to get into Castaneda’s patrol car and radio directly to Castaneda’s agency in Grand Prairie to let them know what was going on.

I’ve been a law enforcement supporter for many years now, simply because I know I could not to that job, so I admire those that can.

In today’s climate, I often get criticized for supporting the cops; however, I am not a blind follower. I realize that there are bad apples in the policing field, just as in any area of employment. I feel shame when I hear about a cop abusing his or her privileges as peacekeepers.

That being said, I attended a candlelight vigil for Castaneda on June 9, which was held in front of Grand Prairie’s Public Safety Building.

I had never met Castaneda, but when something tragic like this happens, I like to lend my support, even if it’s providing another warm body at an event.

I got there a bit early and parked. As I walked up to the gathering spot, I was overwhelmed with the crowd. Literally hundreds of people, young and old, showed up to pay respects to this officer that I knew nothing about.

As I listened to the speakers, I came to understand that Castaneda was an exceptional officer. He raised money to provide meals every Thursday to the youth of an impoverished neighborhood in Grand Prairie. He saved the life of a choking baby. He earned medals and awards too countless to list.

The question everyone asks themselves when a good person dies popped into my head: Why him? Why him and not the cop that sits in the back of a parking lot all day or night watching movies? But does anyone’s life count “more” than another’s?

The wind was blowing pretty hard that night, and the candles wouldn’t stay lit. The chief suggested that folks turn on the flashlights on their phones instead. What resulted was a beautiful sea of light to honor this exceptional officer.

I cried and cried – not because I knew Castaneda – but because yet another person who had compassion and went above-and-beyond had been taken way too soon. Those traits are hard to find these days.

Remember when customer service existed everywhere? Remember when employees cared about your experiences in their stores? Remember when people would stop to help other folks in distress?

Those days are long gone, and so to lose someone who loved his job, had compassion for his fellow human beings and went farther than necessary to give a helping hand to people he didn’t even know was just another blow to the things we used to cherish, and want to cherish again.

RIP AJ Castaneda. End of Watch: June 7, 2019

They’ll take it from here, brother.

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Chief identifies ‘model police officer’ killed in Grand Prairie crash: ‘Our city is hurting’

By Sarah Sarder, Loyd Brumfield and LaVendrick Smith

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Grand Prairie police Officer A.J. Castaneda served in the department for five years. He is the third officer in the department’s history to die in the line of duty. (Grand Prairie Police Department)

A Grand Prairie police officer was killed Friday after a crash threw him off an overpass on the Bush Turnpike, police said.

Officer Albert “A.J.” Castaneda, 38, was running radar while standing outside his SUV parked on the inside shoulder of the Dickey Road overpass around 10:40 a.m., Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye said in a news conference Friday afternoon.

The driver of a Nissan 300ZX heading north on the turnpike lost control and struck Castaneda’s vehicle, throwing Castaneda to the ground about 20 feet below, police said.

Read more from Dallas News…

Pearland’s longest-serving Chief of Police dead after almost 40 years of service

JCDoyle

FUNERAL UPDATE BELOW

Pearland, Texas’s longest-serving Chief of Police, J.C. Doyle, unexpectedly passed away yesterday, April 3, 2019. He had recently retired in 2018.

Doyle served with the Pearland Police Department since 1979.

In his time with the department, he served as a patrol and motorcycle office, detective, patrol sergeant, lieutenant and later as the commander for a multi-agency Special Weapons and Tactics team.

From 1994-1999, Doyle served as Assistant Chief of Police under the direction of P.M. Hogg. Doyle succeeded Hogg as Chief.

He served as Chief from 1999 until his retirement in 2018, making him the longest-serving chief in the department’s 50-year history.

Chief Doyle was instrumental in acquiring and implementing the state of the art radio system and laptop system currently being used by the department.

He will be greatly missed. 

[Fact source: The Reporter News]

[Editor’s Note: We at The Grapevine Source, especially because our beginning was in Pearland, wishes all involved peace and healing. You will all be in our prayers.]

UPDATE: 

  • Visitation: Sunday, April 7, 2019 at Niday Funeral Home, 12440 Beamer Road, Houston, TX 77089
  • Funeral Service: Monday, April 8, 2019 at Sagemont Church, 11300 S. Sam Houston Parkway East (Beltway 8), Houston, TX 77089

**No procession after the service**

Ralph Hall, Texan who was oldest congressman in U.S. House history, dies at 95

By Emily Langer

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Mr. Hall smiles during a tour of his home in Rockwall, Texas, in 2014. (LM Otero/AP)

Ralph M. Hall, a Texas Democrat-turned-Republican who was elected 17 times to Congress, where he became dean of his state’s delegation, one of the last veterans of World War II on Capitol Hill and the oldest person in history to serve in the House, died March 7 at his home in Rockwall, Texas. He was 95.

His longtime political strategist, Ed Valentine, confirmed the death and said he did not know the cause.

A former Navy pilot and Texas state senator, Mr. Hall was elected to the House in 1980 as a Democrat and for the next 34 years — the final decade as a Republican — represented a swath of the Red River Valley in eastern Texas. He announced that his 2014 campaign would be his last and was defeated in the Republican primary by John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney who pledged to serve no more than eight years.

Read more from the Washington Post…