Family, Friends Mourn the Death of Mall Stabbing Victim

George Viera, 39, is in jail facing charges for capital murder. Police say he brutally attacked an elderly man at Sunrise Mall Saturday afternoon.

Investigators said it appears that the victim, 76-year old Donald Lenertz, was stabbed during a robbery, but the Nueces County Medical Examiner has not confirmed the cause of death.

"This just can't be happening," said Dru Penland, Lenertz' son-in-law. "Not this way."

"He was all about peace," said Pauline Torres, Lenertz' daughter. "He didn't deserve to die violently."

Lenertz was killed Saturday morning inside of a restroom at Sunrise Mall. He was at the mall walking to stay fit; his daily routine.

"He was walking at the mall in the morning and in the afternoons to stay healthy and continue to care for his wife and his daughter, who were completely dependent on him," said Tina Saenz, a neighbor of Lenertz.

Lenertz was the only caretaker for his wife and disabled daughter. His wife has Parkinson's disease and is wheelchair bound. His daughter has cerebral palsy, and is unable to understand what happened. She is deaf, and has limited signing abilities, so the family is having a hard time explaining her father's death.
"She just keeps looking for him, and he won't be home, and that's so hard," Torres said.

Now, the family and friends are just trying to cope with Saturday's horrible incident, and are remembering Lenertz as the man that everyone loved and cared for.

"He was the anchor to our family," Torres said. "He was the one that we went to for advice. He knew everything about everything."

"He wouldn't just give you the shirt on his back," Penland said. "He would give you everything he had."

His entire neighborhood is also in mourning. They have lost their handyman, neighbor and their friend.

"This is an incident that shook every home on this street," Saenz said. "it's just devastating. Devastating to everyone involved."

"Life is going to be really tough," Penland said.

Lenertz leaves behind his wife, four daughters, a son, seven grandchildren, and a neighborhood full of heartbroken friends.

The family has not made funeral arrangements yet. While trying to get that sorted out, they are faced with a decision: Who will take care of Lenertz' wife and daughter, as he was the sole caretaker for them?


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