March 16, 2004, Tuesday, BC cycle
Police say shooting deaths of four not random
SECTION: State and Regional
LENGTH: 814 words
DATELINE: McKINNEY, Texas
As police looked for leads into the shooting deaths of four people, including two high school football players, the victims’ relatives prepared for their funerals
A single funeral for Rosa Barbosa and her nephew, Mark Barbosa, was set for Tuesday, with separate services planned Wednesday for football players and family friends Austin York and Matthew Self.
Parents sold orange-and-blue ribbon pins to raise money to help the families defray funeral expenses and create a memorial scholarship.
“Kids have been putting in $5, $20, whatever,” said Laurie Teer, mother of senior Beth, 18, and sophomore Kyle, 15, who played football with the victims.
Police tried Monday to calm the public’s fears that the Friday night killings were a random act.
“We believe that this was an intentional act and was targeted at that particular location and/or one or two individuals at that location,” Chief Doug Kowalski said Monday. He declined to discuss specifics.
Rosa Barbosa, 46; Mark Barbosa, 25; and York, 18, died at Rosa Barbosa’s home. Self, 17, died at a hospital Saturday. All four were shot in the head.
The killings stirred uncertainty and fear in this quaint city of 70,000, where Self and York were members of McKinney North High School’s football team.
“We haven’t ruled out anything as a possibility,” Kowalski said. “The main theory right now is that the two high school football players happened upon something at the wrong time and were at the wrong place. We don’t believe they were initially targets of any acts.”
Kowalski said police were combing the house for clues and had found no drugs. He asked for the public’s help in locating a tan 1999 Chevrolet crew cab pickup taken at the time of the shootings. The pickup, last driven by Self, had a Texas license plate number of 3CPJ17.
“We really need to find this vehicle,” Kowalski said. “This is a major clue to us and a major piece of our investigation.”
Unanswered questions made dealing with the deaths all the more difficult for students at McKinney North High, where four flower-covered crosses were planted in the grass and orange and blue ribbons – the school colors – were tied around tree limbs.
More than 100 pastors, counselors and parent volunteers helped students deal with their emotions.
“We’ve seen a steady stream of kids leave class, which is fine, and come to the library or other areas and receive counseling and support,” McKinney schools spokeswoman Diana Gulotta said. “There’s been a lot of tears. It’s been really sad, really solemn.”
The spaces where the junior players normally parked their cars were spraypainted in orange and blue, with their names, the dates of their deaths and their jersey numbers – “34” for Self and “38” for “Yorky.”
“Always On Our Hearts,” said a sign above a makeshift flower memorial outside the school.
“They were very high-profile, well-known kids in this school, and that’s what makes it so difficult,” said Danny Bryan, principal of the 1,900-student school. “They’re the athletic kids, the honor society kids, the calculus kids, the student council kids.”
Self and York were friends of the Barbosas and played football with Mark Barbosa’s younger brothers, Lynard and Alex, who lived nearby with their mother. A second brother, Robert Barbosa, 22, lived at the home where the shootings occurred and found the bodies Friday night, a friend said.
The Dallas Morning News reported in its online edition Monday night that of the people who lived in the home, only Robert Barbosa had a criminal record. McKinney police arrested him in May 1999 when he tried to sell fewer than 20 tablets of LSD to a man in a park, according to Collin County court records. He pleaded guilty and received five years’ probation.
The police chief declined to discuss statements by several friends and relatives that at least one of the victims was bound with duct tape. He said he did not want to divulge any information that only the police and the “murderer or murderers” know.
However, he said, “we have preliminary information from the medical examiner’s office that there were two different calibers of weapons that were involved.”
Yellow police tape still marked the crime scene Monday, where a police officer sat guard out front. Birds chirped as the Barbosas’ next-door neighbor, Bill Self, 68, sat on his front porch, reading Monday afternoon’s McKinney Courier-Gazette, with the banner headline “Murders shock community.”
Self, who was a great-great-uncle of Matthew Self but didn’t know him well, described the Barbosas as delightful, friendly people.
“I’ve lived most of my life here in McKinney, and I’ve never known anything like this,” Self said. “Of course, there have been homicides before. But usually the perpetrator was known or soon known.
“It’s really frustrating because we still don’t know very much.”