Ernie Brogdon, who was killed in Denton early Tuesday morning, is shown in an undated photo.

The Denton Police Department has confirmed Tuesday’s homicide victim was 27-year-old Ernie Brogdon of Denton.

Brogdon died around 1:44 a.m. Tuesday at Medical City Denton, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner. The medical examiner reported his cause of death was a gunshot wound to the back and ruled it a homicide.

Julian Samano of Fort Worth was arrested Tuesday afternoon at Hulen Mall in southwest Fort Worth in connection with the fatal shooting after a judge issued a felony warrant for his arrest. Samano, 18, is charged with murder and was being held in the Denton City Jail on Wednesday in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Denton police officers responded to a shooting around 1:15 a.m. Tuesday after multiple callers reported hearing shots fired in the 1500 block of Centre Place Drive. At least one person reported seeing a man lying on the ground in the parking lot of Hampton Inn & Suites.

Paramedics took Brogdon to the hospital after locating him with gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Chase Kruger and Alex Torres said they grew up with Brogdon in Denton. Both described Brogdon as a changed man following time spent in prison.

Kruger described Brogdon as a very positive person.

“He chose a different path after high school, spent time in the penitentiary, but he got out, and he was on YouTube … where he talked about how his life was affected by how he was raised,” Kruger said. “This guy is up at 5 a.m. on Facebook Live telling the world to smile and be happy. He was the most positive guy.”

According to Denton County Jail records, Brogdon was jailed in 2011, 2013 and 2015 on charges ranging from burglaries and thefts to unlawfully possessing a firearm and engaging in organized criminal activity. Records show he was booked into the county jail in 2015 on a bench warrant from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was released from federal prison in late 2019.

Torres said he spoke with Brogdon a few hours before he died. He said the two met when they were young children in Denton and grew up on the same street.

“I admired his positivity because I hated the world, and I hated everything that happened to us as children, but he turned it into positivity — and that’s something I was never able to do,” Torres said. “I pushed my problems down, but he faced them and prayed that God would forgive him even if nobody else would.”

According to a news release from the Police Department, the shooting followed a verbal argument, but the department wouldn’t say Wednesday what the argument was about.

A spokesperson for the department confirmed Brogdon and Samano didn’t know each other.

Torres said he’s sad to see his friend go but knows he’s in a better place.

“I could just be selfish in wanting my brother back, but I do know he was a good soul,” Torres said. “From now on, I’m just going to live my life in his name. I’m just another human out here impacted by his positivity.”

ZAIRA PEREZ can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @zairalperez.

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