It was a selfie, posted on Facebook and apparently soliciting too much attention, that sparked the domestic dispute between newlyweds outside a Texas Walgreens Monday that left one woman with a gunshot wound and an armed Good Samaritan dead.
Ricci Bradden, a 22-year-old stationed at Fort Hood with the Army, drove to the Walgreens late Monday morning to confront his young wife, Quinisha Johnson, about a photo she had snapped of herself and posted on social media, Johnson told WFAA-TV (Channel 8).
She was surprised to see him, Johnson said, because he was supposed to be on base at Fort Hood. That, and the couple had already discussed the photo in question – a black and white selfie shot at an angle from above Johnson’s head. The woman told WFAA that after initially losing his temper, Bradden called her and apologized. At the end of the conversation, Johnson said, her husband told her he loved her.
It wasn’t until about 11:30 a.m. Monday, just minutes before the deadly altercation, that Johnson told WFAA she saw several missed text messages and phone calls from Bradden. Then he was at the Walgreens, where she works, standing outside.
“He was just saying I was tripping, and I wanted attention from other people and attention from my husband just wasn’t enough,” Johnson told the TV station. “And I was trying to explain it to him, that I married you. You’re all the attention that I needed. And I could feel that he was getting mad, so I tried to walk off, and that’s when I heard him pull the gun out.”
Bradden fired twice at the ground near Johnson’s feet, police in Arlington said, one bullet burying into the ground and the second striking his wife’s leg. Johnson fled inside the store, she told the TV station, and told her coworkers to lock the doors.
Then came more gunshots.
Outside, Bradden had fled to his truck and climbed inside, police said. That’s when 35-year-old T.J. Antell, a father of three and CrossFit gym owner, decided to intervene. A concealed carry permit holder, Antell watched the marital dispute unfold, retrieved a gun from his vehicle and approached Bradden, police said.
Instead of abiding by Antell’s commands to stop, police said Bradden climbed out of his truck and fired his gun again. According to an arrest warrant, Bradden admitted to slapping Antell’s gun from his hand before shooting, reported the Dallas Morning News.
Antell was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
His wife, Crystal Antell, saw it all, according to reports.
Within hours, Bradden had turned himself over to authorities. A family member took him to a Texas Department of Public Safety station in Hill County after Bradden called and confessed to the shooting, police said. Bradden also confessed to several Army supervisors at Fort Hood, reported TV station Fox 4 News.
Bradden faces a charge of murder, Arlington police said.
When they heard news of the shooting, family and friends of the Antells gathered outside CrossFit Abattoir, the gym the couple owns in Arlington.
“He went into protective mode. He’s a father, he’s protective by nature,” Antell’s pastor, Marc Lowrance, told reporters after the shooting. “And he thought he could help everyone involved, and tragically it went a different way.”
A fellow CrossFit gym owner in Arlington created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the Antell family. According to the page description, Antell was a husband to Crystal and father to three young children. The page describes Antell as a Marine and “great coach.”
“The CrossFit community is very tight knit, and I would like for everyone to take this opportunity to be able to give back to someone who did so much for his members on a daily basis,” wrote a man who identified himself as Jake Mizell. “If we rally together, we can show others just how thankful we are for T.J.”
Video: T.J. Antell, a Texas gym owner and father of three, was shot dead after he pulled a gun on a man involved in a domestic dispute in a parking lot. The shooter, a 22-year-old soldier, now faces murder charges. (Deirdra O’Regan/The Washington Post)