Elderly landscaper murdered outside his Alvin-area home


The search is on for two men who murdered someone in his own front yard in the Alvin area. Pauncho Esparza, 65, was shot to death in front of his home on FM 517 on Tuesday morning. The longtime landscaper and gardener lived next to Bradshaw's Nursery where he worked. 

Investigators with the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office say Esparza was working and received a call from his niece inside his home who told him that a pickup truck kept pulling into the driveway of the property and leaving.
A man driving by, who actually witnessed the shooting, was able to snap a picture of the four-door Ford F-150 King Ranch truck shortly after the shooting.

Detectives say it appears Esparza simply went to ask the two men in the truck if they needed help and as he approached them, one man was outside the truck walking on Esparza's property and another man was still inside the vehicle.
A witness says that’s when the man in the truck opened fire on Esparza, shooting him no less than eight times and then driving away at a high rate of speed while the second man ran away.
Esparza worked for the nursery for 30 years, way back when it was Bradshaw’s Nursery, and he actually bought a piece of Mr. Bradshaw’s property. That’s where Esparza lived with his wife and children.
Relatives say Esparza also always worked extra landscaping and gardening jobs to take care of his family.

”He was just a a sweet guy," says Esparza’s long time friend Hamid Djavadzadeh. "I just don’t know anyone who would want to harm him. I just don’t understand. They say they ran after him, shot him five-to-eight times.  It doesn’t make sense. It’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking,” 

Investigators say the two men in the pickup truck may have been after Esparza’s 19-year-old son, who is a high school student and was in school at the time. The teen works at a restaurant in Alvin and was actually stabbed in an altercation at work three weeks ago, according to detectives. They believe the teen’s attackers may have gone to his home to finish what they started. 

The photo of the truck, taken by a witness, led deputies straight to the owner of the truck. Investigators are questioning the owner’s son who is said to have borrowed the truck to search for a job on Tuesday.

The Galveston County Sheriff's Office is the leading agency in the investigation with Alvin and Friendswood police and the Texas Department of Public Safety assisting.