Fort Worth

Loved ones remember Crowley ISD ROTC leader fatally shot in Fort Worth

Family members say Gene Bass joined the school district to help guide aspiring servicemembers after his own career in the military

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A family is mourning the loss of a father and beloved Crowley ISD Junior ROTC leader who was shot and killed.

Fort Worth police say 54-year-old Gene Bass was outside his home Friday afternoon when a family member fatally shot him in a drive-by before later being arrested in Georgia.

Loved ones told NBC 5 that Bass will leave a legacy of serving others.

Since he was a kid, Gene Bass loved being part of a team.

He grew up playing football in Buffalo, New York, before enlisting in the military.

“He was a real good father. He had a good heart,” said Michael Bass, Gene’s brother.

Bass’s family said after leaving the armed forces, he still felt called to serve. He did that by becoming a Junior ROTC leader in Crowley ISD, helping students overcome adversity and preparing them to serve their country.

“He wanted to be like a vessel, you know, to show these kids how to do it and how to do it right so that they could have something to look forward to,” said Michael Bass.

Devoted Buffalo Bills fans, the family was already looking forward to Gene’s next trip up for a game this fall.

Then, on Friday, the unthinkable happened.

“My sister called me and gave me the news,” Michael Bass said. “And it was just devastation from there.”

Fort Worth police said on the afternoon of June 28, Bass was in his front yard on Chesapeake Bay Drive. Police said a member of Bass’s family shot and killed him in a drive-by and was eventually arrested in Valdosta, Georgia.

“I was in disbelief, I was in shock, I’m still in shock,” Michael Bass said. “I’m numb right now. It’s hard to think, it’s hard to focus, it’s hard to eat, it’s hard to sleep.”

“As you and your child may know, we have lost a treasured member of our NCHS JROTC family,” Crowley ISD told families in a message. “Master Sergeant Gene Bass passed away Friday, June 28. The Fort Worth Police Department is investigating his death.”

“This is an incredibly sad time for all of us, especially those who knew MSG Bass as an instructor and friend,” the statement continued. “He was an outstanding educator and colleague, and he touched the lives of countless students and staff.”

The district said families could request counseling services for students impacted by the loss, including those who learned under him in the JROTC program.

“That was his way of being part of the military but not being in the military,” said Michael Bass.

Reaction to Bass’s death has poured in on social media, with former students remembering his kindness and how he pushed them to succeed through hard times.

The family said that was the memory of Bass they would honor going forward.

“We want justice and as swiftly as possible,” said Michael Bass. “And I just want Gene to be remembered as the great guy he was and the military guy he was.”

Gene Bass’s family said they also planned to start a Junior ROTC scholarship in honor of his memory.

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