Weatherford Democrat

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June 22, 2012

Bull rider charged with shooting hitchhiker

PARKER COUNTY — Bull rider John McKennon Wimberly, of Cool, was arrested Wednesday after, Parker County investigators say, he shot a hitchhiker during a fight.

Wimberly, 24, reportedly told the Parker County Sheriff’s Office that he shot the 35-year-old man in the left calf in defense of his father.

Wimberly has been charged with second-degree felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was released Thursday afternoon from the Parker County Jail on $10,000 bond.

Sheriff’s deputies were reportedly dispatched shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday to the 1300 block of Harmony Circle in reference to a possible intoxicated, injured person.

The deputy found a 35-year-old man, who reportedly told authorities he’d been shot and assaulted at the intersection of Harmony Circle and Harmony Road by a man later identified as Wimberly.

Wimberly was then located in the 1400 block of Harmony Drive and, according to the sheriff’s office, told the deputy that he and the man were involved in an physical fight and that he shot the man with a .22-caliber revolver.

The man was reported transported to John Peter Smith hospital in Fort Worth for his injury and later released.

The 35-year-old told deputies that he had been drinking heavily and was at the Pilot truck stop in Weatherford when he asked Wimberly, who he didn’t know, for a ride to his residence in Weatherford, according to the sheriff’s office.

During the ride, the two began arguing and Wimberly stopped his truck at the intersection, the sheriff’s office reported. Wimberly’s father, traveling behind in a separate truck, came up on the two and stopped, as well.

The hitchhiker reportedly told deputies that Wimberly and his father forcefully removed him from the vehicle and the father and hitchhiker began physically fighting. Then he heard a “pop” and found he was wounded.

Wimberly reportedly told investigators that the man refused to get out of the truck despite several demands. He said he shot the victim in defense of his father after the man struck his father with a case of beer, according the sheriff’s office.

McKennon Wimberly, son of National Finals Rodeo bull rider Joe Wimberly and a three-time Professional Bull Rider World Finals qualifier himself, has returned in recent months from a nearly fatal accident last year during a 2011 PBR event in Anaheim, Calif., that left him in a coma with a severe brain injury, a broken jaw, and fractured shoulder.

Several fundraising events were held locally last year to help McKennon Wimberly with medical bills.

Wimberly has been riding the bucking bulls this year, winning the Don Gay Bull Riding Tour event in Mineral Wells in February and competing in other events.

The Democrat was unable to reach Wimberly for comment Thursday.

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