HOUSTON - For one last glimpse of John Hernandez, the man killed outside a Sheldon-area Denny’s, people lined up single file for hours in the San Jacinto Memorial Funeral Home parking lot Friday.
Inside, family hosted a wake and viewing that lasted 7 hours.
Nearly two weeks after the 24-year-old father died, Hernandez lives on t-shirts printed with his photo worn by loved ones. Their heavy hearts lifted a bit after an announcement from Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
One day after a grand jury indicted Deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband, Terry, for murder, Sheriff Gonzalez launched a new investigation to quell concern over how his department handled matters the night the Thompsons and Hernandez clashed.
“It means that (Sheriff Gonzalez is) actually focusing on this case,” said Melissa Hernandez, John Hernandez’s cousin. “Hopefully, we will get the justice that Johnny deserves. It really does mean a lot to us.”
In light of the indictment, Sheriff Gonzalez ordered internal affairs to review the actions of all eight deputies who responded to the Denny’s where Terry Thompson confronted Hernandez for urinating in public.
Initially, deputies pursued a Class A assault charge against Hernandez whom investigators believed punched Thompson first, the sheriff said. Those same deputies then failed to call homicide detectives to the scene, according to the sheriff and prosecutors.
Sheriff Gonzalez wants to know why. Though, he insists his people did a thorough job.
“There was a scene investigation that was conducted by the responding deputies,” Sheriff Gonzalez said. “Several steps were taken. But we also understand that there’s questions and we’ll make sure that we look into that.”
Chauna Thompson is on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation.
She and her husband of 16 years bonded out of jail late Thursday night.
Terry Thompson’s ex-fiancée described him as charming, funny and “a decent guy.” Elisabeth Eldridge told KHOU 11 News Thompson got mad occasionally. Once, he took an ax to a porch the couple owned, Eldridge said. However, she never though him capable of killing.
“He got mad and he had a hatchet, like an ax in his hand and he just started going off,” Eldridge said. “He was screaming and cussing but he didn’t go after a person. He didn’t go after a person in that way.”
While the Thompsons prepare for court appearances next Tuesday, the Hernandez family braced for Saturday and their final goodbye to a man so many loved.
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