ROCKPORT, Texas — The Rockport community is stunned by the death of a well-known member who went by the name of Cowboy, otherwise known as Billy Mullennix, who was pronounced dead on Monday.
“He will be missed tremendously," said Nicole Leasman, Mullennix's niece. "There will definitely be a void there. Like I said, anytime anyone needed a hand in the family, he was there. Even if you were 200 miles away or 10 miles away, he was always wanting to be the first one there to volunteer, help out and do whatever he could.”
His family said he suffered a gunshot wound to the head on Sunday and was put on life support.
His family said he got the Cowboy moniker by his actions.
“Kind of the cowboy way," Leasman said. "He was all about helping people out. Making sure he’s always there to lend a hand to elderly, anyone who needed any kind of help he’d give his shirt off his back to you.”
Talking to people throughout Rockport, there was a consensus that Mullennix was a nice man that had his regular spots in town he frequented.
A former roommate of Mullennix's said he had a fantastic attitude and everybody loved him. Rose Swanson Dorris described him as a funny man who kept his favorite hat on him and was an experienced bull rider.
He and his travel companion were known to mostly be at the local H-E-B. Cowboy always had his dog Chance with him on his bike or sitting on his shoulders and backpack. Leasman said Chance was a rescue Cowboy’s sisters got him. Dorris said she heard Cowboy give commands to Chance in a native American tongue.
“My uncle’s a little bit of a nomad," she said. "He liked to travel from city to city. It’s a very different unique lifestyle, but that’s how he became such a part of different communities from New Braunfels all the way to Rockport.”
Even though his family doesn’t all live in Rockport, they understand what he meant to the city.
“Since this has happened, I've gotten—the amount of out-pour our family has received from just members of the community just reaching out," said Leasman. "Someone that knows someone…until late last night (Monday) we’ve been getting phone calls.”
Aransas County Sheriff Bill Mills confirmed there was an ongoing investigation into Mullennix's death and that he died by gunshot wound to the head. No suspects at this time. He declined to comment any further.
The family has started a Go Fund Me page for his funeral expenses. In one day they've raised nearly $1,600.