Police charge suspect with 4 assault counts after North Austin rampage


Highlights

Police are linking several incidents of gun violence to Rolando Martinez, 25.

Martinez is being held in the Travis County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail and is under an ICE detainer.

For about an hour, similar 911 calls came in from several different parts of North Austin — a man with a gun, witnesses said, was firing at people and cars at random early Saturday morning, eventually wounding two adults and a 7-year-old girl while the family of three was in a vehicle.

Police caught the suspect, 25-year-old Rolando Martinez, after Martinez saw a state trooper and ran from his car, which had more than a dozen spent shell casings and an AR-15 rifle inside, his arrest affidavit says. The vehicle, a black Pontiac GTO, is registered to Martinez, the affidavit says.

Martinez is now in the Travis County Jail. In addition to bail set at $1 million, Martinez — who was born in Mexico, according to state records — is being held at the request of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, Travis County sheriff’s officials said.

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Martinez told investigators he didn’t recall much of that night but said he had been drinking at El Nocturno Nightclub, on North Lamar Boulevard just south of Anderson Lane. The next thing he remembered, he said, was waking up in a grassy median about 200 feet from where the trooper saw him, according to the affidavit.

El Nocturno is the location of the first shooting incident mentioned in the affidavit. At 1:52 a.m., officers handling an unrelated call several blocks south of El Nocturno heard gunshots. An Austin police detective later found nine .223-caliber spent shell casings in the nightclub’s parking lot.

Five minutes later, a man called 911 and said someone shot at his vehicle about 4 miles from El Nocturno, near Interstate 35 and Airport Boulevard.

At 2:25 a.m., a report said three people had been shot in North Austin.

A 7-year-old girl was shot in the head and critically injured, and a 29-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman also were seriously injured in the shooting, police and Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services officials said. It was unclear Monday how the three are related, but they were together on Diamondback Trail — a street north of West Rundberg Lane — when they heard a pop, the affidavit says.

Police found several bullet holes in the family’s vehicle.

Two minutes after that shooting, police got a call about a man who had pointed an assault-style rifle at several people in the parking lot of a Valero gas station at Braker Lane and I-35, less than a mile from Diamondback Trail.

About 3 a.m., police got two 911 calls from people who said a man had threatened them with a gun in the area of 51st and 52nd streets.

At 3:08 a.m., a driver with her 4-year-old son in the car called 911 to report that a man in a vehicle had chased her aggressively before intentionally rear-ending her vehicle when she stopped at a light at Cameron Road and 53rd Street, the affidavit says. She ran the light to get away from him, and he ran the light as well, she said. She rolled down her window and saw that he was pointing a rifle at her, she told police.

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Two minutes later, the trooper reported seeing Martinez run away from his car in the 5900 block of I-35, near where the driver with the 4-year-old son had been, the affidavit says.

The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force eventually tracked him down at a home in the 500 block of Middle Lane in North Austin, said Hector Gomez with the U.S. Marshals Service.

Records show that Martinez was booked into jail at 3:48 p.m. Saturday on four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of injury to a child.

Hours later, detectives reviewing surveillance footage from the Valero at Braker Lane and I-35 said the car of the person shown pointing a rifle at people matched the Pontiac GTO that the trooper saw Martinez run from, the affidavit says.

In September, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez ordered her office to start honoring all federal immigration detention requests placed on local jail inmates suspected of being in the country illegally after a federal appeals court ruling Sept. 25 allowed parts of Senate Bill 4, the controversial “sanctuary cities” ban, to go into effect.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kristen Dark said that since Martinez was charged with four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, sheriff’s officials reviewing this ICE request would probably have honored the request even if this incident had occurred before the court’s ruling.

Records show that Martinez has one prior criminal charge in the United States. He pleaded guilty in 2016 to assaulting a public servant in Travis County. It was not immediately clear what his immigration status was at that time or whether ICE was involved in that criminal proceeding.

Read our complete coverage: Sutherland Springs church shooting



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