BAYTOWN, Texas (Fox) - An 84-year-old Baytown man was on his morning walk with a friend when he was shot in a drive-by shooting August 15. Police said Sam Wingate was transported to the hospital following the shooting but died from his injuries a few days later. Baytown Police and Crime Stoppers are now offering up to $20,000 reward for any information that could lead to an arrest. The incident is now being investigated as a homicide.
In an interview only with FOX 26, Charles Ed Carey said him and Wingate are long time friends. The two have been walking together every morning for the last 10 years, and last Wednesday was no different.
"We heard a car coming from behind, so we got in a single file. I was behind and Sam was in front of me. The car passed me, got even with Sam and just started shooting," Carey said.
Investigators said just after 6:20 a.m. on August 15, Carey and Wingate were walking along the 9600 block of Pinehurst Drive in Baytown when police said a car drove up, someone shot Wingate in the back then fled the area.
"For no reason. They didn't try to rob us or anything, you know. They just shot Sam and took off," Carey said.
Carey said it was still dark at 6:20 a.m. and the entire shooting happened so fast that he wasn't able to put a face to the shooter. More than a week later, Baytown police are still searching for the persons responsible for murdering the 84-year-old. With the help of the community, Crimestoppers has now increased the reward.
"Through some donations, we are able to announce today that we're going to be increasing the reward from the typical $5,000 to $20,000," Baytown Police Lieutenant Steve Dorris said.
At a news conference Thursday, Wingate's daughter and son are pleading for the public's help to figure out who would commit this senseless violence to their beloved father.
"I have many questions and things to say. One is, why? I don't understand. I mean come on," said Wingate's son, Donnie.
"My dad was just hardworking individual and always had a smile on his face," Wingate's daughter, Kelly Dando said.
Carey said Wingate was a Korean War Veteran who'd had a difficult time this past year. His house was flooded during Hurricane Harvey and a few months later, in December, his wife passed away.
"He was in a lot of major battles over there and made it out safe and then you get shot on your own street," Carey said.
At this time, police do not have any information on a motive or the identities of the suspects. Investigators believe the suspects were driving a light-colored sedan during the shooting.
Anyone with any information about the case is urged to call Baytown Crime Stoppers at (281)-427-TIPS.