LAKE BRIDGEPORT, Texas - An apparent argument over fireworks led to a shootout and the death of an 80-year-old man at Lake Bridgeport in Wise County.
A witness tells FOX 4 the armed senior citizen who was killed opened fire on a group at the neighbor's house next door on Saturday night because he was mad they were setting off fireworks.
Authorities say 80-year-old Edward Cordero was mad at his neighbors for popping fireworks and retrieved a gun from his house and fired the first shot at his neighbors. The witness says a man in that group had a gun, returned fire and killed the 80-year-old gunman.
While the Wise County Sheriff's Officer calls it a shootout, only one person was killed and no one else was injured.
William Sparks said he and his in-laws were lighting fireworks Saturday night at his home at Lake Bridgeport like they always do this time of year. He says Cordero, their neighbor, was watching too from his house right next door until he became angry.
"He just came out that night out on his porch. After we shot one of the fireworks off, it stopped," Sparks recalled. "And he goes, 'I'll be right back. I'm gonna go in the house and get my gun.'"
Sparks says Cordero came out with a handgun, walked toward the group and fired the first shot.
"When he came out with the gun, we went behind the house," Sparks said. "Aand that's when we heard the three shots."
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin says a 33-year-old man in the group, who had a gun and a license to carry, returned fire with his handgun. He shot Cordero in the head and shoulder. The elderly man was rushed to JPS Hospital in Fort Worth where he died.
Akin says right now it looks like a case of self-defense.
"We can meet with the district attorney and possibly refer our investigative findings to the grand jury," the sheriff said.
Sheriff's investigators say the shooting stemmed from an argument between Cordero and someone in the group after Cordero told them to stop shooting off fireworks. Sparks says he doesn't remember there being an argument, but he says Cordero had always been a good neighbor.
"Been a nice man. No problem out of him," Sparks said. "I always talked to him. He tells me stories about his life. I don't know. We just don't know why."
Sheriff Akin called the shooting senseless.
"Seems like cooler heads would have prevailed and these two folks would have had a calmer conversation when they couldn't arrive at some agreement," the sheriff said. "Then let's just move to other places, and that didn't happen. And, unfortunately, an 80-year-old man died."
The sheriff says there was a burn ban in effect so Sparks' in-laws could face a class c misdemeanor for shooting off the fireworks.