Plea offered to man accused of shooting at Alamo police


Prosecutors on Wednesday afternoon announced they’ve made a plea offer to a 35-year-old man facing four counts of attempted capital murder of a peace officer that would send him away for three decades.

That offer, however, requires Arturo Fred Garza to plead guilty to 10 charges, including the attempted murder charges, levied in three separate indictments.

In all, Garza is charged with the four counts of attempted capital murder of a peace officer, a count of harassment of a public servant, three counts of theft of a firearm and a count of unauthorized use of a vehicle.

If he accepts the deal, the state will recommend five years for each of the remaining counts.

All of the sentences would run concurrent if state District Judge Letty Lopez were to accept the plea deals.

Lopez set a deadline of Feb. 3 for Garza to accept or reject the offer.

She admonished the man that if he were to reject the offers and go to trial, he could face up to life in prison on the attempted capital murder of a peace officer charges. He is not eligible for probation because he is a convicted felon and the indictments include multiple enhancements for those previous convictions.

“It’s a serious situation you find yourself in,” Lopez told Garza.

The man’s attorney, Sergio Sanchez, indicated that in his discussions with the state, he believes it’s possible the parties could reach a number short of 30 years before the Feb. 3 deadline.

The Alamo Police Department arrested Garza on Jan. 19, a Sunday, at about 7:03 p.m. after responding to El Tigre at 1000 North Alamo Road for a suspicious man who was possibly armed.

The initial officer on scene who tried to make contact with Garza as he walked out of the store placed her hand on his shoulder but he pulled away and began to leave the scene as another officer arrived on location, according to a probable cause affidavit.

This officer gave verbal commands to Garza to stop but Garza refused and the officer activated his lights and a chase into a grassy field north of the store ensued, police say.

As the chase continued, police say they saw Garza reach into his coat pocket and turn toward an officer.

“Officer Perez observed the defendant fall on the ground and Officer Perez observed a handgun fall out of defendant’s right hand. Officer Perez unholstered his department issued weapon and ordered the defendant to stop,” the affidavit states.

Authorities say Garza did not stop.

“Officer Perez observed the defendant turn and fire one shot in Officer Perez’s direction. Officer Perez observed a muzzle flash and heard a gunshot fired from the defendant’s right hand. Officer Perez aimed his department issued weapon at the defendant and fired one shot,” the affidavit said.

Another officer who heard the shot and saw Garza’s muzzle flash fire two shots at the man, police say.

The chase continued as Garza ran toward two Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office deputies who drew their weapons and ordered Garza to drop the gun.

“Deputy Cerda observed the defendant point a gun at him so he fired his weapon at the defendant. The defendant was subdued and detained,” the affidavit states.

Police then took Garza to the Alamo Police Department and charged him before transporting him to the Hidalgo County Detention Center.

Once he was jailed, McAllen police learned that he was a suspect in a theft case.

This happened after detectives retrieved surveillance video from a Stripes store related to that theft case and searched a database for the name Arturo to include any facial tattoos, which was based on a statement from the reporting party in this case.

“An inquiry was made on the male subject and it appeared he had been arrested on 1/19/20 for attempted murder with the Alamo Police Department in Alamo, Texas. The suspect was apprehended for the crime while wearing the same red with white striped T-shirt as he was wearing in the video surveillance,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

The detective learned Alamo police found a small coin collection and three handguns on Garza after his arrest. The theft victim provided a description of the guns that matched the guns Alamo police found. He also reported that the man had stolen silver and gold coins from him, police say.

This investigation began on Jan. 19 when the McAllen man reported that he believed a homeless man named Arturo that he met at the Stripes had stolen his blue 1997 Volvo 960, three guns and the coins on Jan. 18.

This victim said he met Garza at the Stripes on the corner of Nolana Avenue and Expressway 83 late in the evening of Jan. 18.

“The victim said he went to go purchase several beers and met the male there who appeared to be homeless. The victim spoke to the male and offered him a beer,” the affidavit states.

Then he said he offered Garza some work that he needed help with at his house and Garza agreed and they left the Stripes, police say.

“Once back at the residence, the homeless male asked if he could take a shower since he hadn’t washed himself in sometime. The victim allowed him to shower and then explained to him all of the work he needed to get done inside of the residence,” according to the charging document.

The victim told the detective that he then passed out from drinking multiple beers, police say.

“When the victim woke from his sleep he noticed the homeless man was gone,” the affidavit states.

So was his vehicle, the guns and the coin collection, according to investigators.

That’s when the alleged victim called police and provided the timeline of his interaction with Garza and a description of the man that helped McAllen investigators link him to the theft, police say.

Once in the county jail, Garza picked up the harassment of a public servant charge.

The sheriff’s office says in an affidavit that on Feb. 2 Garza threw a cup of urine at a nurse who was providing him medication.

He has entered not guilty pleas to all of the charges and remains jailed on a total of $355,000 in bonds, records show.