LCSO: Dispute over dogs may have led to mass shooting in Dayton that left three dead, two injured

UPDATE: Liberty County Sheriff’s Investigator Robert Dunn confirmed on Wednesday that one of the fatal shooting victims – Misty Herndon – and the alleged shooter – Michael Wettstein – had been previously involved in a relationship; however, it’s still uncertain if that was a motive for the shooting.

“That is a theory we are looking at right now. We do know that Mr. Wettstein had made multiple complaints about the dogs running stray in the neighborhood, too,” Dunn said. “Until Mr. Wettstein sits down and gives us a statement, all we can do is guess. He requested a lawyer on scene and is not cooperating with our investigation.”


A murderous rampage that led to three people killed and two injured on Monday at three homes on CR 4091 in Dayton may have been started over dogs running loose in the neighborhood, according to a statement from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.

“Although the case is still under continuing investigation as to a logical motive for these murders, it was reported by area neighbors that Michael Wettstein was known for going around the neighborhood ‘ranting’ about the dogs that were allowed to roam freely in the area,” said Capt. Ken DeFoor, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.

At the time of Wettstein’s arrest on Monday, he had drawn a swastika on his forehead and was armed with a shotgun and rifle that reportedly were used in the shootings.

Investigators have pieced together the chain of events for the shooting and have determined that the first persons killed were 56-year-old Richard Lamm and 38-year-old Misty Herndon after Wettstein first killed Herndon’s dog.

He reportedly went next to the home of 59-year-old Bruce Mercer and shot and killed him for unknown reasons, DeFoor said.

“After that shooting, Wettstein went to the next home on CR 4901 and, after arguing with Marvin Rumley and his daughter about their dog, shot both, who were later airlifted to a Houston hospital for treatment for gunshot wounds. It is reported that both of the Rumleys are still in treatment at the hospital,” DeFoor said.

DeFoor said that the Sheriff’s Office was aware of several prior calls to Wettstein’s home for various complaints. He previously was arrested in April of 2009 for Duty on Striking Unattended Vehicle and on April of 2019 for Assault.

Wettstein is charged with one count of Capital Murder and several other felonies are pending further investigation. Bond for Wettstein was denied by Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Stephen Hebert and he remains in the Liberty County Jail.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


    • Not one in county only in ci5y of dayton and this street is outside city limits. Still an asshat for killing people period let alone over loose dogs roaming. Hell people dump dogs out there all the time so might not have even been their dogs he was mad about.

  1. Bruce Mercer was killed for being a GREAT step-father to Wettstein’s children (over 3 decades). Wettstein has always been a bully—maggot—deadbeat!

  2. This is tragic. Praying for the families and praying that people will start to become situationally aware. You have to know what’s going on around you

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