Town On Edge After Murder

Residents in Vernon are shocked after police said a man was murdered on the 2400 block of Fannin St.

"Nothing has ever happened like this before, not here in this neighborhood," said Leticia Valtierra, who lives across the street from the house.

Police responded to a disturbance call around 12:40 a.m. on Wednesday.

"When they arrived there, the officers found the victim was deceased," said Vernon Police Chief Tom Wilson about the victim, 45 year-old Michael Jerome Ridge. "From the initial investigation, it appears he died by being struck from a blunt object."

Police arrested 19 year-old Ezekiel Bell at another house in Vernon, just 20 minutes after officers were called to the scene.

Still, some Vernon residents are concerned about their safety in the wake of this horrific act.

"It kind of just makes you not comfortable anymore, you know? Being at home, having it happen here in your own hometown, it makes you wonder, ' What's going to happen next?'" said Camisha McArther, who knew both the victim and the suspect. "I'm really  actually literally scared now. I don't know what's going to happen next."

Others who knew both parties involved said there was no "bad blood" between them, and friends remember the victim fondly.

"He was energetic, He was always hyper. He didn't fool with nobody, you know what I'm saying?" said family friend Shanae Favors. "It's life, but you don't expect it to hit home. It's just like a nightmare. I just wish I'd wake up, but it's actually reality."

Bell was being held in Wilbarger County jail, charged with murder.