Man found dead in yard in Orange homicide

The Orange Police Department is investigating a homicide that happened around 12 a.m. Thursday in the 1500 block of Carter Street.

Captain Cliff Hargrave told 12News officers received a call of shots fired and a man down.

Captain Hargrave said when officers arrived on scene, Emanuel M. Thornton, 35, of Orange, was laying in the front yard of a home with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"I had just gone to sleep when I heard the shots," Esther Whited told 12News Thursday. It was Whited's front lawn where Thornton was found.

Whited had no idea what was going on outside until she got a call from one of her neighbors.

"She said 'Get up, there's somebody been shot in your yard'... So I put the phone down, I come to the front and he was lying in the yard," Whited said.

Police say Thornton was shot in the back with a shotgun. Shell fragments hit both the trunk of Whited's car and the side of her home.

"He never moved, I mean whoever shot him made sure... that he couldn't talk," said Whited.

Whited says Thornton lived directly across the street with his mother. She says he was always nice to her.

"He was just as friendly as could be... every time I would open the garage door he would say 'Hi Ms. Es'."

Public data records reveal Thornton served prison time for burglary of a habitation, aggravated sexual assault of a child, and escaping custody. He was released in 2012.

Thornton was pronounced dead at the scene by Orange County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Judge Rodney Price. An autopsy has been ordered.

Captain Hargrave said that at this time the circumstances surrounding the shooting are unknown.

No arrests have been made.

If you have any information, contact Orange Police at 409-883-1026.


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