Authorities Struggle With East Texas Race Track Shooting Investigation - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/23/07-Smith County

Authorities Struggle With East Texas Race Track Shooting Investigation

The investigation into a deadly shooting at an East Texas race track continues tonight, one that has been difficult for law enforcement to get answers.  The shooting happened around 6:30 p.m. Sunday night at the Rancho Ojo de Agua on County Road 237 near the Smith/Gregg County line.  The victim has been identified as Jose Enrique Gomez-Vallez, 46 of Azle, Texas. 

After questioning more than a hundred witnesses, the Smith County Sheriff's Department says it is still unable to identify the shooter.  Authorities say anywhere from 400 to 600 people were at the race track Sunday night when the shooting happened.  There were also security guards at the track when authorities say the shooter drove to the track and shot Gomez-Vallez five times in the back.  Right now, the sheriff's department says it needs helps from the community.  

"We have no idea why they were down there except to watch a horse race," said Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith.  "We will find out more of course as time goes on, but the community itself, the Hispanic community, doesn't want to talk.  There were a lot of people that saw what happened.  I believe there were probably numerous people that knew the individual." 

KLTV also spoke with the owner of the property where the make-shift race track sits.  He says no betting went on there.  He told KLTV 7 it is simply a place for families to hang out and ride their horses.  The sheriff's department says whether or not the track is legal is not their main concern.  Right now it's focusing on the murder investigation.

Authorities say the shooter is an Hispanic male who had a wide scar on the right side of his face.  He was wearing a yellow t-shirt and blue jeans and left the scene in a 4-door white Chevy Cavalier.  If you have any information call the Smith County Sheriff's Department.

Molly Reuter, Reporting.


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