Police: Pair arrested after firing shots into chicken restaurant

A group of current and disgruntled former employees accosted the staff at a South Austin chicken restaurant before firing shots into the building, prompting two arrests over the weekend, police said.

Mario Raymond Martinez, 28, and Vanessa Hernandez, 18, were booked into the Travis County Jail Saturday on deadly conduct charges for firing a weapon at an occupied building.

According to their arrest affidavits, the pair, along with another former employee of the Pollo Regio on William Cannon Drive, entered the restaurant on Friday night looking for one of the men’s paychecks. The manager told them she had put the man’s paycheck in the mail since he had been terminated, after which the man “got a knife, jumped on a crate and swung his arms wildly,” the affidavits said.

Another employee tried to calm the group down and then went across the street to a convenience store to call police, the affidavits said. On her way back she heard gunshots and, when she returned to the restaurant, she saw it had been shot up, the affidavits said.

The woman described the getaway vehicle to police and said it had stopped near a ditch, where officers later turned up a gun that was stolen out of Bastrop County, according to the affidavits. Police located the vehicle, which had spent casings inside that matched those at the chicken restaurant, and arrested both Martinez and Hernandez, the affidavits said.

According to a witness statement provided to police, Hernandez fired the weapon while Martinez reloaded. Both were charged with deadly conduct, a third-degree felony punishable up to 10 years in prison. They are being held at the Travis County Jail each on $25,000 bail, records show.

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