BAYTOWN, Texas – Dozens gathered at the Pinehurst Neighborhood Park on El Chaco Drive Saturday morning to remember a victim of gun violence.
Sam Wingate, 84, was shot on Aug. 14 while out on a walk in his Pinehurst subdivision. The Navy veteran died days later at a hospital. His shooter has not been found.
“You just can’t believe it. I can’t believe that could happen,” said Mary Jane Ethridge, a friend of the family.
More than 100 people, including Wingate’s adult children, spent their Saturday morning honoring Wingate by walking through his neighborhood. Many knew Wingate from his daily stroll through the community.
“A lot of people knew him from his walk. I mean, getting their paper in the morning,” said Donnie Wingate, the victim's son. "He was the type to drum up a conversation. He might be walking but he was talking.”
The route the walkers took through the Pinehurst subdivision was strategic. It was the path Wingate would take daily.
Tammy Johnson didn't know Wingate personally, but the Baytown resident said she didn't need to know him in order to be moved. She purchased T-shirts, ribbons and other items with her own money, which she sold at the walk for donations.
She's “hoping that we’ll raise enough money that somebody is gonna say, 'hey, I did see something, or I do know something, or I did hear something',” she said. “That’s the most important thing. We want whoever did this to be caught.”
Johnson raised $3,013 Saturday, which she added to Crime Stoppers' $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Wingate’s shooter is still walking free.
“We just hope that somebody knows something. There was more than one person we know, so two people have to know something,” said Kelly Dondo, Wingate’s daughter.
Baytown police have released surveillance video showing the vehicle believed to be involved in the shooting. It was described as a light-colored, four-door sedan, possibly a Chevrolet, which is missing the front license plate.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Baytown Crime Stoppers at 281-427-8477.