Shooting victim to return for Basin Strong concert

An Oklahoma man who was wounded in the Aug. 31 mass shooting will be returning to Odessa for the Basin Strong benefit featuring Clay Walker and special guest Rick Trevino.

The concert is Thursday at La Hacienda Event Center.

Brad and Brenda Grimsley of Mustang, Oklahoma, were on their way to Brenda’s parents’ house in Pecos when Brad was shot. The couple and Brenda’s sister, Betty Perea, were traveling on Interstate 20 with Brad driving their 2019 Toyota Highlander, which they had gotten three months before.

Brenda said they were excited to enjoy some “real Mexican” food while visiting Pecos. Brad and Brenda   have been married since 1997 and have seven children and 22 grandchildren. Brenda, who was born and raised in Pecos, is an auditor with the state of Oklahoma. Brad is a retired U.S. Marine Corps master sergeant.

“We were driving down Interstate 20. We thought we were making really good time and would be in Pecos an hour to two hours than what we anticipated,” Brenda said. “I was doing some drawing when I told Brad that we were coming into Midland County where the speed limit drops and there are a lot of truck drivers.”

Brad slowed down to 65 mph, Brenda said.

“We saw that a trooper had somebody pulled over. We were looking and went down a little further,” she said. “The car in front of us hit their brakes and swerved off to the left on the median, which left us right there when we heard the shots. We saw Seth (the shooter) getting out of the car and the troopers, Trooper Prior with his partner, pull the car back onto the entry ramp.”

Brad hit his brakes but then realized they were in the line of fire, Brenda said. He said they needed to get through and told Brenda and her sister to get down.

She said they began praying for the troopers, officers and anyone who was in the line of fire. Brad tried to keep the shooter behind them, she said. When shooter Seth Ator attempted to pass their car, Brenda said she tried to take a picture, and they saw the gun.

Brad slammed on the brakes while the vehicle was traveling more than 100 mph as the shooter passed them, Brenda said. Three shots rang out; one shot hit the vehicle and hit Brad, his wife said. With Brad slumped over, Brenda took the wheel and got the vehicle over to the side.

Perea, who is a retired trauma nurse, helped carry Brad to the back of the vehicle and shoved her jacket into his wound, which was the size of her fist, Brenda said. Meanwhile, Bremda was trying to flag down a vehicle to help them.

“I was in such a panic mode because Brad is on three blood thinners and he was shot and I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know how bad,” Brenda said. “I got down on my knees because nobody was stopping and I said, ‘Dear God, help me.’ Then I looked up and there was Trooper Baskerville who was on the other side of the median and he asked what was going on. … Trooper Baskerville came around and started administering aide.”

An ambulance took Brad to Midland Memorial Hospital, where Brenda was reunited with her husband at about 9 p.m. They stayed at MMH for five days, she said.

The aftermath

Doctors weren’t able to stitch up Brad’s wound, so he had to have a wound vac machine running 24/7 to heal his gut wound, which finally closed on Dec. 16. Shrapnel from the bullet remains in him, but it missed all the vital organs, Brenda said.

The family wasn’t able to make it from Midland to Mustang in one trip, so they stopped in Abilene. The trip from Abilene to Mustang was a little rougher, Brad said. He went to the hospital when they were back in Mustang to stop the bleeding.

“Officer Baskerville saved my life, because I am a bleeder, and I was bleeding very badly,” Brad said. “Between my sister-in-law and the officer, I am here today, plus Midland hospital.”

“I can say that the Midland hospital was well prepared for a situation like this,” Brenda said. “Rene with the Odessa Chamber of Commerce reached out to us, the FBI helped us, and the state of Texas sent the flag.”

“I know that when I got shot, I didn’t know if I was going to live or die but I know that if I had died, that the communities of Midland and Odessa would have taken care of my wife,” Brad said. “I am sorry that everyone had to go through all of this, and our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones.”

Brad and Brenda brought cards to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Mike Baskerville, the city of Odessa and Midland Memorial Hospital during a trip to Odessa in November. He claimed I-20 mile marker 129 as his own when he returned to take a picture of him at the scene of shooting, Brenda said. This will be their second trip to Odessa since August.

“We are staying at the Marriott and we are driving down,” Brad said. “We are going to enjoy the day and go down to see her parents then drive back to Mustang.”

The benefit

Sondra and Toby Eoff are honorary chairs of the Black Tie and Boots Benefit Dinner and Hope and Healing Concert. The dinner is at the Odessa Marriott Hotel and Convention Center beginning at 5 p.m.; the concert will follow.

“We knew Dan (Henderson) from business years ago,” Sondra Eoff said. “We were neighboring businesses in Corpus Christi. He reached out to us because he doesn’t live in Odessa and asked us to be honorary chairs. Of course, being native Odessans, we wanted to jump on board and help raise money for the victims of that day.”

The dinner will have a program and live and silent auctions. Seven people who were affected by the Odessa shooting – victims or their representative -- will be recognized at the dinner, Eoff said.

She said at the dinner and concert.they will show a video of short stories about what happened on Aug. 31.

“Our heart ached that day and still aches today for the tragedy that happened that day,” Eoff said. “Some of those victims are still seeking counseling for what happened that day. Any small thing we can do to ease their burden is what we are trying to do.”

She said that Dan Henderson, a member of the Basin Strong committee and a group from Houston, are helping with the event. The mission of Basin Strong is to offer hope, healing and support to all those affected on Aug. 31, according to a press release.

“None of the committee lives in Odessa -- although Dan runs a business in Odessa; they are all doing this because they have a heart for what happened that day,” she said. “They are helping out a community outside of their own.”

A portion of the concert proceeds will be donated to those impacted through the Odessa Community Fund, a nonprofit formed by the Odessa Chamber of Commerce.

Singer Clay Walker was born in Beaumont but spent most of his life in the Houston area. He topped the chart with his first single “What’s It to You,” in 1993.

“I am a lover of our great state,” he said. “I was influenced early on in my career by George Strait and the group Alabama.”

Walker said he was approached by his agent and manager, TK Kimbrell, to play the benefit concert.

“Before they could finish the question I just said, ‘Yes, I’m in completely,’” he said. “We will donate our time and contribute. I think as Texans, we have all learned that through the hurricane evacuations and all the crises we’ve had over the years. I don’t think any state is better at preparing or recovering than our state.”

Walker said it was amazing to see a group of people, including oil and gas companies and All American Dodge rally to hold the concert.

“To get asked was an honor to me,” Walker said. “I have done several shows in Midland and Odessa and I have always enjoyed them. That alone is the least I could do to give back something for the great support I have had from this part of Texas.”

Walker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996 and since then he founded Band Against MS (BAMS) to raise money for the cause -- more than $5 million to date.

When the committee asked Walker how he felt about Rick Trevino being on the show he said, “check that box.”

“Rick Trevino is a really good guy,” he said. “We aren’t best friends because we haven’t spent that much time together, but when we have toured together in the past, he and his organization are first class. Not only does he have a great country music following but he has a great Latino following, which I think will benefit this concert and blend everybody, as well.”

Walker, speaking in a phone interview during a break in rehearsal, that they are going over new ideas that they will implement at the Odessa show.

“Overall, when you come to one of our shows you will leave more than satisfied because the whole experience is geared toward engagement with the audience,” he said.

Walker said he will stay in Odessa the night of the show to visit with people who were involved with putting on the event.

“I appreciate everyone who is going to be involved -- from the people who put it on, to those who are coming,” he said. “Even if you’re not a country music fan, you should come to support the Basin and these families that have experienced such a tragedy.”