Easter gathering erupts into fatal 2-minute gunfight between Texas families, cops say

Two people are dead and another seriously injured after an Easter gathering erupted into a shootout between two families, Texas police and news outlets say.

Lubbock police responded to calls about a shooting at a home on the city’s south side at 5:23 p.m. on Sunday, March 31, the department said in a news release.

Officers arrived to find three men wounded by gunfire, two of whom died at a hospital, police said. They were 36-year-old Johnny Bermea Sr., and 33-year-old Jeremy Bermea, according to a news release. The third man, Jose Lopez, 48, survived.

Police said a “domestic disturbance” at another location earlier that day was the catalyst for the deadly confrontation.

A family shootout

That “disturbance” was an assault against 21-year-old Andrew Espinosa, according to court documents obtained by KCBD. And when the man’s mother learned of the assault, she told her husband, 37-year-old Henry Bermea.

The news made Bermea angry — so angry he called members of his family together to confront the person responsible, the outlet reported. They grabbed guns, drove to the home of the alleged attacker and exited their vehicles with weapons on display.

Adults and young children were at the home, where they had gathered for an Easter egg hunt, and some were outside eating, KLBK reported.

Johnny Bermea Sr. started arguing with a man in front of the house and, within moments, the man shot Bermea in the chest in “self defense,” documents said, the outlet reported.

Johnny Bermea Jr., 19, retaliated with a shotgun, hitting and seriously wounding the man’s father, Jose Lopez, according to the outlet. Bermea Jr. then took cover behind a car and opened fire on the house.

Documents say Henry Bermea and his wife had also brought an infant and teenager with them to the scene, and they stayed in the vehicle during the two-minute gunfight, the station reported. They didn’t check on either of the children as shots rang out, and were busy tending to the now-fatally wounded Johnny Bermea Sr.

At some point, Jeremy Bermea tried advancing toward the home while firing a pistol, but was struck by gunfire, according to KCBD.

Arrests made

Police launched an investigation and arrested four members of the Bermea family over several days.

Henry Bermea, his wife and Johnny Bermea Jr. were arrested on April 3 and booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center, police said. Bermea Jr. is charged with aggravated assault, while Bermea and his wife are charged with abandoning or endangering a child.

On April 5, officers arrested Espinosa on a charge of aggravated assault.

Bond has been set at $300,000 for each of them, police said.

Lubbock is a roughly 310-mile drive northwest from Fort Worth.

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