Recently, the Houston Chronicle printed an article entitled, "Family holes up in bunker, evades court" in which they said, "Now, the 51-year-old Gray apparently is holed up in his compound, which is surrounded by barbed wire and fortified by a bunker ringed with sandbags, dodging two felony warrants stemming from an altercation with state troopers. He has dared the authorities to "come and get me" and warned them to "bring body bags."
Because of the statements made in this article, the family members at the Gray "Compound" have received numerous calls from across the country, asking about the so-called, non-existent stand-off.
FLI recently asked some of its affiliates to help in verifying the story. Jimmy Ritter, of "Freedom in the Trailer Park" made a few phone calls to mutual friends of Joe Gray's who have spoken to Gray, and was able to speak with Gray, only to find out that Gray had no knowledge of the Houston Chronicle's Article, and that no reporters had attempted before that, to his knowledge, to speak with him.
FLI then made phone calls to the Sheriff's Department, which has received many phone calls of the same nature. We were told that even though there were warrants out for Mr. Gray, no plans for a stand-off was being considered, and no action was being taken, at present, on the matter of the warrants.
The Houston Chronicle was not interested in getting the phone number for the Sheriff's Department. They kept asking if Joe Gray was going to turn himself in, to which we replied that that was none of their business at this point.
We feel that the article that the Houston Chronicle put out was an effort to "create news" where before there was no news by encouraging a stand-off that had not even been considered either by the Sheriff's Department or the Texas Rangers, who we also spoke to.
We believe that the Houston Chronicle owes an apology to the Gray family out of good principle, and that the subject should be dropped until action has already been taken on the matter. Whether Mr. Gray or his family has in any way defied the law is of no consequence in this matter. This is a matter between the Law Enforcement Departments and Mr. Gray until any action is taken, and the Houston Chronicle should not be in the business of playing the vigilante.
This concludes our statement at Friends of Liberty, International, and we appreciate your support.
Friends of Liberty
Shonda M. Ponder, Editor-in-Chief