A single shot fired on Alvin Street Monday afternoon killed one, and police say an El Campo man has confessed to the crime.
Brandon Patrick Shimek, 26, of 610 Fahrenthold, had not yet been booked into the Wharton County Jail as of presstime. He was arrested at 2:25 a.m. Tuesday on a single count of murder.
Shimek has prior arrests for theft in Matagorda County and having a prohibited weapon in Wharton County.
The victim was 32-year-old Justin Wayne Lipinski who lived with his grandparents at 1208 Alvin.
“God is doing this for some purpose. He’s allowing this to happen for some reason,” his grandfather Walter Lipinski said Tuesday.
Lipinski said he was the one who found his grandson lying on the driveway.
“He was working on a pickup, the exhaust manifold,” Lipinski said, adding “We were in the house. I didn’t hear an argument. I didn’t hear a scuffle. I didn’t hear nothing.”
Dead of a single gunshot to the head, there was nothing El Campo EMS could do to help Justin Lipinski.
Wharton County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 Jared Cullar pronounced him dead at the scene and ordered an autopsy, which will be conducted by the Fort Bend County Medical examiner’s office.
“The whole CID (Criminal Investigations Division) came out. It was a holiday weekend and they all came out,” El Campo Police Chief Terry Stanphill said Tuesday. “I’m really proud of them ... they worked like a well oiled machine. They came out and got busy.”
ECPD was assisted in the investigation by the Texas Rangers and Wharton County Sheriff’s Office.
There were no witnesses to the crime as far as police know.
The investigation led them to Shimek. Police won’t comment as to why. Lipinski said he doesn’t know if his grandson knew him. He might have, he said. “He knows a lot of people here. He went to high school here,” he said.
Stanphill would not comment on whether he believed Shimek acted alone.
Who Was Justin Lipinski?
Justin Lipinski had been a heavy equipment operator, but had stopped working about a year ago when he had back surgery.
His main concerns over the last several months were his children, boys ages one and five.
“He was trying to get custody of both his kids. He loved his kids. He really loved the baby. He would do anything for him. He really cherished that baby,” Lipinski said.
Justin Lipinski had a past criminal record involving thefts and burglary. The last arrest was in 2015.
“He grew up a lot. He would come forward, drop back, come forward. He really did try to pull out of it,” Lipinski said. “He was trying so hard.”
Tragedy Upon Tragedy
Monday’s murder is actually the second one the Lipinski family has suffered through together.
Diane Lynn “Dinky” Gajdos, the eldest daughter of Walter’s wife Janice was killed March 25, 1979.
Her body was found in a partially-filled rice canal near Mennonite Road in Fort Bend County near Rosenberg. Her car was abandoned on U.S. 59 a bit more than a mile from where her body was found.
An autopsy indicated the cause of death was strangulation. She was 17 years old.
During the early morning hours, Dinky Gajdos had been on her way back from Houston where she visited a friend. When she didn’t get back home, the Lipinskis went to look for her. They were the ones who discovered their daughter’s 1970 white Ford Torino parked on the shoulder of U.S. 59 about a half mile east of FM 762.
The flashers were on. The doors locked. Dinky’s purse and the car keys weren’t there.
Fort Bend County investigators later learned that the bearings had frozen from a lack of oil.
“At least this time we know who did this,” Janice Lipinski said. “With Dinki, they never found out who.”
The girl had been a high school junior, involved in band and softball.
She still had her jewelry on when found, but there was no report of a purse being recovered.
The 1979 reports indicate the strangulation could have been the result of drowning as there were no marks on her body. There’s no reason to suspect, however, that Dinky would have tried to cross a rice canal or why that might have happened.
“There’s been two murders in our family,” Janice Lipinski said, adding they manage. “We try to use it to help other people.”
Walter Lipinksi added, “We don’t blame anybody.”
El Campo’s Dark Days
Justin Lipinski’s murder is the third this year in El Campo.
Police have made arrests in all three cases with suspects awaiting justice.
A shooting just before an arson fire at 201 Olive on Jan. 31 claimed the life of 23-year-old Keyshun Demetric Riggins who lived in the home.
His alleged killer, 26-year-old Shaquille Montgomery of Edna was arrested three days later after a brief standoff with police in his hometown.
Police found 40-year-old Adam Saenz of 1231 Alice lying in his front yard around 3:20 a.m. Monday, April 27 after being dispatched to a shooting there.
Saenz reportedly suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the torso. No one else was harmed during the argument between Saenz, his alleged killer and one other person who is not a suspect in the crime.
Near the intersection of Alice and Palacios Streets, police arriving on the scene took 24-year-old Aaron Martinez, also of 1231 Alice, into custody on a single count of murder.