HENDERSON — A decades-old feud may have triggered a shooting early Sunday that left one man dead in a crowded dance hall.
Gunfire erupted after midnight at American Legion Post 844, where a blues music show was underway. When police arrived about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, they found Roy Lee Moore, 53, with multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body.
Henderson Police Lt. Craig Sweeney said Moore died a short time later at a Kilgore hospital emergency room where he was taken by emergency medical crews who had been en route to a Longview hospital.
“They stopped in Kilgore when it became apparent his condition was worsening,” Sweeney said. “The justice of the peace in Kilgore ordered an autopsy.”
About 30 minutes later, Joe Travis Watley, 60, was arrested at his home in the 300 block of Garden Street in connection with the shooting. Sweeney said Watley surrendered without incident. He was scheduled to appear in court today.
He was booked into the Rusk County Jail on a charge of murder. He was being held Monday without bond.
“He has not talked to us,” Sweeney said.
Moore was shot several times as he got up from a table where he had been sitting with Watley, witnesses said.
The shooting stemmed from a feud between the two men that dated back more than 20 years, witnesses told investigators. The nature of the feud was unclear Monday.
State records show Moore was released from prison in 2012 after serving nearly 20 years of a 60-year sentence for aggravated robbery and kidnapping.
More than 200 people were in the hall when gunfire rang out, said Eli Brown, who books events for the Legion Post. He said he was shocked by the shooting, as were most others at the show.
“This was an older crowd. This wasn’t a bunch of young people,” Brown said. “Everybody was all dressed up. This just came out of nowhere. Everybody is just stunned.”
American Legion Post 844 Commander Carey Brown said the post rented the building on Sand Avenue for such events, but had no affiliation with the blues show. The promoter had leased the building twice previously for events that were conducted without incident.
Henderson has not had a homicide since 2007, Sweeney said.