"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Thursday, May 09, 2024

UPDATE: Accused Shooter of Texas Mason Deemed Competent For Trial

Photo: KRGV-TV5

by Christopher Hodapp

(NOTE: This story has been updated.)

A quick update on the trial of 36-year-old Julio Diaz of Alamo, Texas, the accused murderer of Past Master Robert Wise outside of a Masonic lodge in McAllen, Texas in July 2023. (McAllen is a small town right on the Mexican border in the southernmost tip of Texas, just west of South Padre Island.) 

Last November, Diaz' attorney Lennard Whittaker Molina asked the judge for a psychological investigator, saying more time was needed to go through his client's medical records because he wasn't sure if Diaz was mentally competent. According to KRGV-TV5, the attorney claimed his client had an untreated cyst in his brain, discovered in medical documents obtained from Mexico. The judge subsequently appointed a neurologist to evaluate Diaz, and those experts found he is capable of going to trial, according to a court filing that was signed on Friday, May 3. At a hearing next week, it is expected that a trial date will now be named.

As reported here last July, WB Robert was leaving McAllen Lodge 1110 following their officers' installation when he was confronted in the lodge parking lot and shot. Security video showed a man resembling Diaz pull into the parking lot in a Chevy SUV, approach Wise, and open fire. Holding the gun in one hand and a phone in the other, Diaz recorded the incident and posted it on his social media account.

Upon hearing the shots outside, members came running out of the hall and spotted Diaz leaving the scene.  Police were immediately called, and Robert was found in the parking lot next to his truck, with multiple gunshots wounds. He was rushed to a local hospital where he later died.

WB Wise is survived by his wife, five children, and eleven grandchildren. 

According to one source who spoke with me after his arrest last summer, Diaz told investigators that he believed Masons are "devil worshiping Illuminatists." A Facebook commenter said Diaz had previously posted anti-Masonic comments on social media, claiming the lodge "had put a curse on him."

Brother Robert Wise, 55, killed last July following officer's installation
(Photos: McAllen Lodge 1110 Facebook page)

The lodge was previously vandalized in March of 2022, when an unknown person tagged the location with graffiti reading, “Sorcery against the Holy spirit and the human race must all be stoned to death.” It's not known if Diaz was responsible for that incident, but he also faces a separate arson charge from an incident in September 2022, when he had attempted to set the McAllen Masonic hall on fire. Surveillance footage recorded him at that time breaking in by smashing the glass front door, pouring gasoline on the floor, and lighting a piece of cardboard on fire. Diaz admitted setting that fire to investigators after his arrest in connection with Wise’s death. Investigators obtained and examined Diaz’s camera and found evidence that also linked him to a February 2023 fire at Llano Grande Masonic Lodge, located about 20 miles west of McAllen in Weslaco, Texas.

It bears repeating that all Masons need to be extremely cautious regarding security in and around our buildings. That means monitored surveillance cameras located at all entrances and in the parking lot, locked outer doors during events, and vigilant Tylers who remain outside of the lodge room for the whole duration of the meeting.

Online anti-Masonic conspiracism and open hostility has grown at an alarming rate ever since COVID summer, but police departments and individual officers can't be automatically expected to realize that anti-Masonic hatred is a very real syndrome lurking out in the general population. Law enforcement officials need to be informed by us whenever there are any threats or acts of vandalism and violence directed at Masons. Even cases of minor property damage to our buildings like anti-Masonic or gang-related graffiti should be reported to police, if only to build up a database of these kinds of incidents and identify repeat attackers. 

In another sad development, Brother Wise's family filed a lawsuit against McAllen Lodge last November, alleging negligence in the case. The lawsuit alleges that the local lodge should have known ahead of time about growing anti-Masonic sentiment across the country. . .  and done something else to prevent the attack.

UPDATE MAY 14, 2024, 1:30PM: 

According to KRGV-TV5, at a pre-trial hearing on Monday, Julio Diaz's murder trial was set to begin August 19th. 


  1. Ill. Bro. Chris, What are your thoughts on concealed carry in tyled meetings?

    1. This very story is the stark dilemma that faces us all these days. There should be no reason at all for Masons to feel it necessary to either conceal or open carry inside of a tyled lodge. In 1948, President Harry Truman famously visited a local Masonic lodge here in Indianapolis. His two Secret Service agents attempted to follow him into the lodge room, and the poor Tyler wasn't quite sure how to handle it, since they weren't Masons. The President turned to the agents and said, "Don't worry, fellas. I'm literally going into the safest place on the planet. Just have a seat outside." He was right, and I think we all feel that way most of the time.

      And yet...

      The killing in McAllen might not have happened in the lodge parking lot had the suspect arrived five minutes earlier. Instead of ambushing just WB Wise, he might have, instead, gone inside, shot the Tyler, burst into the lodge room, and killed even more brethren. And in a situation like that, I'm guessing at least one or two Brethren attending that night had been carrying, and they might have had a fair chance of stopping the killer. None of us will ever know.

      Some grand lodges or local lodges are requiring any Mason carrying a firearm to secure it in a gun safe outside the lodge room – they take the admonition to a new candidate literally when it forbids "anything offensive or defensive inside the lodge," and they extend that to ALL members. But the sad truth is that attacks on us are going to continue to occur randomly, in part because rabid anti-Masons have become more militant and more openly threatening – more VIOLENTLY hostile – than ever before in the modern era as their delusional conspiracy beliefs get stoked hotter and hotter every year.

      In reality, I favor fewer rules over more rules every day of my life. Grand lodges are big entities, with lots of diverse members, in a huge variety of communities, and this is one of those dilemmas that can't have a one-size-fits-all solution. I'd far rather a lodge discuss and vote on the matter among themselves than have some grand master issue a statewide edict, or to even have the grand lodge insert it into their Code. Things that get codified are difficult to get rid of when circumstances change, and they don't allow for any wiggle room. I'd rather the members of a lodge in a high-crime neighborhood, or a quiet, rural lodge in a close-knit, crime-free community decide their own lodge policies than have anyone else order them to comply to a statewide policy.


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