On Friday night Philip Cornejo and his little brother John were hosting a birthday party for their young nephew at their home on the 2200 block of Sandra Drive, Cedar Park. A happy family scene.
Within a few hours however John, 25, was dead from a gunshot wound, lying in a pool of his blood in the very place where the celebration had taken place mere hours earlier. Called to the house at 5AM, police found the corpse and took Philip, 45, two decades his brother's senior, into custody.
What happened? Maryanne Cornejo, mother of the birthday boy and sister to both men told Fox 7 her siblings might have argued, or that it may have been an accident, but that ultimately the whole sequence of events felt totally unreal. "I just want to wake up," she said, before adding that Cornejo was hearing impaired and thus carried a gun: 'Because he can't hear and he doesn't know what's going on and he's home alone sometimes so just for protection."
This was not the only incidence of gun violence at the weekend. Less than 24 hours later there was very nearly another murder 37 miles away in the small town of Burnet, which takes its name from David Gouvernor Burnet, who served as the first provisional president of the independent Republic of Texas in 1836, and who also had a magnificent beard.
At 2AM, Vinson Cowan 19 is alleged to have crept up to the window of a house in the Deer Springs neighborhood, taken aim at a woman sleeping inside - who just happened to be sharing her bed with two children- and fired. The bullet missed the kids, but successfully hit the woman in the head.
And yet she did not die: the victim was released from hospital in Round Rock later that day. Police soon tracked Cowan down and he is currently sitting in Burnet County Jail where, if the accusations against him are true, he certainly belongs.
No information is available as to Cowan's motives. Was this a random act of psychotic violence? Willful evil? Or did the suspect know the victim, and was he retaliating following a dispute? No answer would diminish the fact that shooting a sleeping woman in the head is a near epochal act of cowardice, and one wonders what Cowan's cellmates will do when they discover why he is in jail.
Finally, some good news: last Friday's car jacking was not actually a car jacking. Police later anounced that the stabbing was a result of an argument between associates, and not an insane desire to possess a Chevy Cavalier at all costs. And while the violence is still reprehensible, this crime at least can now more easily be understood.