Man sentenced in connection with H-E-B shooting incident

McALLEN — The Reynosa man whose gun went off during a trip to the grocery store earlier this year will serve more than two years in federal prison, court records show.

U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Daniel Meza-Lopez to a 30-month prison sentence Tuesday in connection with a January incident inside a Pharr H-E-B grocery store. One woman sustained a gunshot wound in the incident.

Meza-Lopez, who was living in Pharr at the time of the incident and pleaded guilty to one count of importing, manufacturing firearms in early May, was not ordered to serve additional court supervised release because he is likely to be deported upon completion of his prison term.

He was named as a suspect in the Jan. 10 incident inside the H-E-B store, located in the 1300 block of South Cage Boulevard in Pharr, when a handbag containing a handgun discharged, striking a woman who was near Meza-Lopez.

The woman, 22-year-old Sandra Gonzalez, was shopping in the store near the produce section when she was struck by a single round.

“The recorded video showed Meza-Lopez and a female pushing a shopping cart near the produce area,” the complaint states. “In the footage, the 3-year-old (boy) can be seen grabbing a black bag. When the black bag hit the ground, a female patron in the store reacted, moved her leg, and looked around.”

Other shoppers are shown in the footage approaching Gonzalez, while Meza-Lopez can be seen picking up the bag and leaving the area.

Gonzalez, who suffered a gunshot wound to “one of her lower extremities,” was taken to a hospital, treated and was released, authorities said at the time.

Pharr police officers later retrieved the handgun, a Davis Industries .38 Special (two-shot) model, in a “cold beverage container,” inside the store.

Meza-Lopez, who was interviewed by federal agents following his arrest, stated the shooting was an accident and that it was his boy who had dropped a black handbag, causing the handgun inside to discharge and strike Gonzalez, the complaint states.

The defendant said that he was going to turn himself in but officers with the Pharr Police Department ar-rested him before he could, the complaint states.

He claimed ownership of the black handbag but initially stated the gun was not his.

“(He) told (an agent) that the gun was in his bag for two days and that he did not know it was in his bag,” the court record states.

Meza-Lopez, who has been in custody since March, does not have legal status to be in the country and was deported in December 2014 on an unrelated gun charge, court records show.