By Jean Cole
When a Limestone County sheriff’s lieutenant arrived at the scene of a shooting in Belle Mina last Saturday, the alleged suspect flagged him down.
In a report filed by Deputy J. McCormick, Joel Patrick Moyers, 52, who was living at a mobile home at 8849 Fennell Road, told him, “I fired a round and the vehicle is down the road a little bit north.”
McCormick quickly directed Deputy Casey Foxworthy to stay with Moyers while he went to the truck. As the lieutenant approached a red, Chevrolet S-10 truck, he saw a man standing in the middle of Fennell Road flagging him down. The man was Ryan Hydrick, 25, of 20661 Colonial Drive in Athens.
Hydrick told McCormick, “I wrecked and my brother is in the truck, I think he has been shot.”
But, getting to the victim proved difficult.
“The only way to approach the truck was from the covered (truck) bed,” McCormick said in his report, because the vehicle was wrecked in a wooded area surrounded by trees.
“I got on top of the bed and could see a dog in the driver’s seat and yelled at the passenger several times but did not get a response,” McCormick said.
Ambulance workers Wendy Wright and Thomas Franks arrived and tried to check on the passenger but could not reach him, McCormick said. So, the deputy broke the rear windshield with his baton and Wright got inside, he said.
“Wendy advised me she could not locate any signs of life,” McCormick said.
Wright applied heart-monitoring strips to confirm her initial determination, but the passenger, Brandon Hydrick, 26, of Athens, was dead, according to the report.
McCormick called for investigators then returned to Ryan Hydrick and asked him to sit in the patrol car until investigators arrived.
“I asked Ryan what happened and he stated, ‘I’ll talk to a lawyer or a judge but I’m not talking to you,’” McCormick said.
The deputy placed Ryan in the patrol car and secured the scene (around the truck), according to the report. Sheriff’s Investigator Sean Doyle, Chief Investigator Capt. Stanley McNatt and Sheriff Mike Blakely then arrived at the scene.
The sheriff said the shooter — a self-employed laborer who had been staying at the Fennell Road mobile home owned by his mother, Shirley Brown of 793 County Road 225 in Cullman — saw the truck stop for about 10 minutes on nearby Fennell Lane, which is a one-way road. Worried about thefts and believing the truck looked suspicious, he grabbed his AK-47 assault rifle and went to investigate. The Hydrick brothers had been at a nearby bonfire party and were attempting to return home when they became lost, said their sister, Jessica Hydrick-Nichols of Athens.
When the Hydricks saw Moyers shining a light at their truck, Ryan turned around and drove back the way he came. Moyers tried to stop the truck so he could obtain a tag number. Ryan, noticing Moyers had a gun, continued past him. A few hundred yards later, Moyers fired one round into the truck, which pierced the tailgate, the backseat and front passenger seat, inflicting a fatal wound in Brandon’s back, the sheriff said.
Moyers, who had told investigators he had merely fired one “warning shot” into the air, was arrested and charged with murder. Moyers, according to the report, appeared to be “sober” at the scene.
In the days since the shooting, Moyers has remained free on a $260,000 bond, but he was ordered to return to his mother’s home in Cullman.
Meanwhile, Brandon Hydrick — an avid outdoorsman and soccer player who ran triathalons and worked at Halo Monitoring of Huntsville — was eulogized by friends and family Friday at Faith Chapel and laid to rest at Valhalla Memory Gardens in Huntsville. Donations may be sent to The Brandon Hydrick Memorial Fund in care of Redstone Federal Credit Union.