Shearrer above the clouds

Senseless murder shocks the county



On Wednesday, October 10, 8:30 a.m., the tragic killing of fifth generation well-loved son of Pleasanton, Tommy Shearrer shocked and saddened the citizens of Atascosa County and beyond.

Shearrer, 56, former Atascosa county commissioner, community volunteer and acclaimed innovator in cloud seeding program was found murdered in his truck on St. Augustine Road. Atascosa County Sheriff’s Office assisted by the Pleasanton Police Department, Texas DPS, Texas Rangers, Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, Atascosa County Constables, Jourdanton Police Department and the Austin and Corpus Christi Texas DPS crime lab teams worked in unison to find the man who fatally wounded Shearrer. After a 36-hour manhunt, Manuel De Los Reyes, 19, San Antonio was found on Friday morning, October 12 in creek bed dead from what appeared to be a selfinflicted gun wound.

Chief Soward explained that there are details that will never be known and no one will ever know exactly what occurred but that law enforcement has formed theories. The Chief Deputy stated that sheriff’s investigators were able to identify as many as six witnesses who observed Galeas’ overturned wrecked car on Hwy. 281 and saw Galeas with Shearrer’s pickup during a 4-5 minute span around 7:40 a.m. Additional information that helped form the theories was Galeas’ timeline which included firing shots at his girlfriend earlier in the morning of October 10 and then speeding away down Highway South 281. Also, it was learned that a Galeas family member had recently purchased the 9mm gun which turned out to be the murder weapon.

Chief Soward said that it is believed that Mr. Shearrer stopped to help the suspect who then got into Mr. Shearrer’s truck. Chief Soward said that perhaps the men drove to the car to look at the wreckage. The two men were spotted by a witness as getting into Mr. Shearrer’s truck and driving off in the direction of St. Augustine Road. Soward stated that his theory is that the suspect may have asked Shearrer for a ride to a “fictitious friend’s” house in an effort to evade the possibility of police involvement in relation with the shooting at his girlfriend less than 20 minutes earlier in Bexar County.

Soward explained that what exactly happened once Mr. Shearrer and Galeas got two miles down St. Augustine Road is a mystery. “We just know it ended up with the senseless, unnecessary and tragic death of a good man”, the Chief Deputy said.

The sheriff’s office wanted to recognize and thank all the volunteers as well as witnesses who came forward during the investigation along with the citizens who donated their time, equipment and resources to investigators.

A cadre of officers

Responding officers Sergeant John Rothenbach and Sergeant Investigator Wayne Stratton were first to arrive on the scene. Chief Deputy David Soward arrived at the scene and took command of the investigation. Sergeant Investigator Matt Miller was assigned to the case and he was assisted by Lieutenant Jake Guerra, Sergeant Investigator Max Peralta, Sergeant Investigator Stratton and Chief Soward as well as other Deputies and officers at the scene. Texas Ranger Shane Staley who was out of town was summoned back to the county to assist sheriff’s investigators. Atascosa County Sheriff Tommy Williams also arrived at the scene. Pleasanton and Jourdanton PD officers along with Precinct 1 Constable P. Medina arrived to assist the sheriff’s office.

Chief Soward stated “The tremendous outpour of assistance offered by the public is partially, if not totally contributed to how well respected and liked Mr. Shearrer was in the community.”

His funeral

About 2,000 family, friends and colleagues gathered for the funeral of Shearrer, on Saturday, October 13. At Shearrer’s service, Doug Andrews, a long-time friend and former Atascosa County Extension Agent, and Ronnie Rains, another long-time friend and co-founder of Gateway Church shared colorful stories of Tommy. Both agreed that Tommy was the same person inside the church as he was outside the church. Andrews told about the early days at Gateway Church. He and Tommy took turns controlling the sound board during hymns. He admitted both couldn’t sing very well, so they would each take care of that flaw at the sound board. Pastor Albert Locke of Gateway Church mentioned that “Tommy was surely organizing people up there already.”

Good friend Weldon Cude said every time he would call him on the phone the conversation always began the same. He’d say “What’s up, Shearrer?” and Tommy always replied, “Just another day in paradise.”

A plane fly-by was performed by Bejah Fowler and Joe Rodriguez at Shearrer’s funeral. Shearrer had done a similar fly-by for his friend Dudley Royal at his funeral last year.

If you visit HurleyFuneral- you can view the guest book and you’ll notice many messages from all over the world.


Tommy is survived by his beloved wife, Sharon, his parents, Tinker and Beverly, his father-in-law and motherin law, Dan and Dorothy Yow, his sons and their wives, Wesley, Magen, Matthew and Amanda; his brothers and their wives, Randy, Sharon, Justin and Natalie; his brothers and sisters-in-law, Johnny & Mary Yow, Sheryl & Artie Armstrong, Sandra & Larry Wheeler; his nieces and nephews, Megan & James Martin, Mindy & Mark Giebel, Melany Shearrer, Cody Shearrer, Sadie Shearrer, Jimmy & Kandace Bartosh, Jason Shearrer, Jennifer & Chad Wheat, Roper & Amber Yow, Sheila & Kody Babb, Rowdy & Nikki Yow, Brandy & Clint Smith and Bodie Armstrong & Lauren Eickstead, in addition to numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, great-nieces and nephews and a host of brothers & sisters in Christ. For his full obituary, please see page 12-C.

Who he was

Tommy Shearrer, was many things, a successful rancher, a Sunday school teacher, a church elder, a contractor, Young Citizen of the Year (‘83) as well as Couple of the Year (‘87), a community volunteer extraordinaire and a former Atascosa County Commissioner for eight years. He also received national acclaim as an innovator in a cloud seeding program and was recently featured on the ABC-News program Nightline speaking on that topic. He also played a featured role in the critically acclaimed film Owning the Weather. Owning the Weather told the story of weather modification in the United States. Shearrer, played a key part in this film by adding his perspective to the many-sided debate illuminated by the film. As head of the Southwest Texas Weather Modification Association (STWMA), Shearrer oversees the cloud seeding program, which attempts to artificially stimulate largescale precipitation. Areas of weather modification include precipitation enhancement, hail suppression and fog dispersal.

During filming, Shearrer was also serving a term as president of the national Weather Modification Association from 2006-2007.

After kicking off a lengthy festival run at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in April 2009, Owning the Weather was released via cable Video-on Demand, iTunes, and, and was shown at multiple event theatrical screenings.

Owning the Weather received the honor of screening at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP15, in Copenhagen, Denmark. At COP15, the film was coupled with a panel featuring leaders and renowned scientists from all over the world discussing the most pressing environmental issues of our time.Included on the COP15 panel was Nobel Prize winning climatologist Stephen Schneider.

Shearrer lobbied in Washington, D.C. and traveled the world, sharing his knowledge with government leaders in Greece and India. In the summer of 2005, he appeared in an article and photo in The Hindu, the national newspaper of India. Though made on a small budget, Owning the Weather promised to have a major impact. “It is a real quality film,” said Shearrer at that time. “It stays pretty neutral on the issue of weather modification.”

Just four days before his death, ABC Nightline’s report “Cloud Seeders Help Make It Rain Over Drought Stricken Texas” featured Tommy Shearrer as well as farmers Bill Slomchinski and son Brett Slomchinski. To view it online please go to http:// cloud-seeders-makerain drought-stricken-texas/ story?id=17321980#.





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