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Pillar of community killed
by Gary Kent
Sep 28, 2012 | 14765 views | 7 7 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gary Kent photo
The driveway to the Hickman Ranch on Wofford Lane was a busy place Thursday morning as friends of Brien Hickman paid their respects to the family. Hickman, 54, was killed the previous morning by a single gunshot wound, reportedly on the driveway leading to the house. Bee County deputies are investigating the incident as a homicide.
Gary Kent photo The driveway to the Hickman Ranch on Wofford Lane was a busy place Thursday morning as friends of Brien Hickman paid their respects to the family. Hickman, 54, was killed the previous morning by a single gunshot wound, reportedly on the driveway leading to the house. Bee County deputies are investigating the incident as a homicide.
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BEEVILLE — News of the slaying of 54-year-old Brien Glenn Hickman spread quickly around Bee County and other parts of Texas Wednesday.

Hickman, a local rancher, businessman and lifelong Beeville resident, was shot and killed early that day, apparently as he was leaving his ranch on Wofford Lane east of the U.S. Highway 181 Bypass.

Family friends said Hickman was found lying on the ground outside his vehicle bleeding from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Rumors spread immediately, suggesting that Hickman had been killed when a branch struck him. Others suggested that he had possibly taken his own life.

Authorities who had been at the scene and who wished to remain unnamed said there was no gun near the victim, ruling out the possibility of a self-inflicted gunshot. One investigator said the death had to be a homicide.

Hickman had been working at the Sikorsky Aerospace Maintenance operation at the Chase Field Industrial and Airport Complex and was one of the employees who was losing his job there because of the facility’s closing. But family friends said he had found another job.

Deputy Investigator Adam Levine of the Bee County Sheriffs Office, who is leading the investigation, said Friday morning there were no new developments in the case.

Levine said deputies are working on a number of leads but no suspects had been identified as yet.

According to deputies who were at the scene, two Texas Rangers and a special ranger for the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association were joined by Deputy Investigator John Davis and Deputy Sgt. Kevin Behr at the scene.

Meanwhile, those who knew Hickman were shocked and wondering who could have shot the man they had known for decades.

“He was a year ahead of me,” said John Longoria of Corpus Christi. “I played football with him.”

Longoria said he had always known Hickman as a hard worker and he would have never thought he would have an enemy.

“It was just heartbreaking to hear it,” Longoria said of the news. He had seen Hickman recently while on a visit here. “I feel for the family,” Longoria said.

Beeville businessman Sid Elder also was a year ahead of Hickman in school, and he played football with him for the Trojans.

“He was a tall, lanky guy, and he kind of got picked on because he was so skinny,” Elder said.

Hickman took the ribbing well, Elder said. “He worked as hard as anybody.”

“He was the nicest guy in the world,” Elder added. “I can’t imagine him having enemies. I hope they catch the rascals that did it.”

Another classmate, Sylvia Garcia-Smith, also was shocked to hear the news.

“He would’ve given the shirt off his back to help someone,” Smith said. “He had such a big heart. He never said a bad thing about anyone.”

“I’m almost speechless,” said businessman Jim Crumrine. He had known Hickman at least 30 years. “We truly lost one of the pillars of our community.”

Crumrine called the victim “one of the nicest, most compassionate men I know. I literally knew I could call him at any time and he would be there to help. I’ll miss him as a friend.”

“He was one of the good guys,” said former classmate Carol Riley Cain. “He was always nice, always polite and always willing to lend a helping hand whenever he thought it was needed,” she said. “He even invited my grandchildren to ride horses at his ranch and that included the then 4-year-old.”

“They thought the world of him, as did we all,” Cain said. “My family will miss him greatly. He leaves a big hole in Bee County.”

Thursday morning a steady stream of vehicles could be seen driving toward the house on the Hickman Ranch. In a nearby pasture, a herd of goats was seen grazing.

A sign on the gate said that Hickman was a member of the American Meat Goat Association. The organization’s web site listed him as being on their Texas board of directors.

Hickman also ran the family business, Hilltop Mobile Home Ranch located east of the U.S. 181 Bypass.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Galloway & Sons Funeral Home.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
Comments
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smccabe311
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October 03, 2012
I completely agree with "toopositive"
whateverok
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September 29, 2012
@ toopositive u must be one of the bosses out there.If it is a homicide people need to know! Maybe they can help solve this. God Bless his poor family.I hope this is resolved soon.

whateverok
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September 29, 2012
@ toopositive actually @whatvevrok is only stating what many people already have about that place, long before this ever happened. People have a right to comment about it. You`d feel awful bad if we later find out there was a connection.God Bless the family. I hope they find the person/persons who are responsible. So sad!

catalina787
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September 29, 2012
@ toopositive actually @whatvevrok is only stating what many people already have about that place, long before this ever happened. People have a right to comment about it. You`d feel awful bad if we later find out there was a connection.God Bless the family. I hope they find the person/persons who are responsible. So sad!

alitij
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September 29, 2012
My family & i were devastated to hear of Brien's passing. Then to later find out he had been shot - totally unbelievable. We pray for his family, that they may be given the strength to overcome this tragic time.

Brien (Mr. Hickman) as we always called him was a great person & friend who we loved dearly. He helped us get started with the goat showing business with our daughters. We cannot believe someone would ever want to hurt this man. Since he would help anyone in need even if you didn't ask. If he knew you needed help, just someone to talk to or listen - he was there. RIP Mr. Hickman May we be fortunate enough to see you again someday.
whateverok
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September 28, 2012
Murder. The place he worked at is very shady. the FBI needs to investigate them badly! Maybe he found out or stumbled upon some info they didn't want him to know.
toopositive
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September 28, 2012
Whateverok, you are out of line. There is a huge difference between failure to follow processes/procedures or inefficient business practices and conspiracy to commit murder. Perhaps you should be investigated for obstruction of justice or defamation, libel or slander of Sikorsky Aerospace Services.

Gary Kent, you have highlighted the gossip mongers of this community, and completely overlooked the loss by his family. Really, you placed the rumor of “suicide” in print? This is not a story to entertain the masses as we grieve the loss of the “Pillar of Community” as your article has been titled. Not only do I find this article to be uninformative, but it is also in poor taste and disrespectful. As a reporter, you should know that the use of the word “homicide” eliminates the need to sensationalize this type of insensitive gossip.



Shame on you.