Shooting that wounded Caldwell deputy was ‘self-defense,’ lawyer says


Edwardo Padilla and Kimberly Ashford Moore both face assault and firearm charges, said lawyer Richard Banks.

The pair thought a squatter who had made death threats against them was on their property, their lawyer said.

Lawyers for a couple arrested after a Caldwell County sheriff’s deputy was wounded early Friday outside their home say the shooting was a case of mistaken identity and “classic self-defense,” and that the deputy never identified himself until after he was shot.

The Caldwell County sheriff’s office on Friday said the deputy was seriously wounded by gunfire while responding around midnight to a call about a theft at a home on Hidden Oak Road just outside of Dale, an unincorporated community about 25 miles southeast of Austin. The deputy, whose name has not been released, was taken to a hospital where he underwent surgery, and was in stable condition, authorities said.

Two residents of the home, 33-year-old Edwardo Padilla and 54-year-old Kimberly Ashford Moore — who lived there with her two grandchildren and her mother — both face felony charges of aggravated assault on a public servant and deadly conduct with a firearm, said Richard Banks, who along with his wife, Leslie, is representing the pair.

“The pair will plead not guilty and self-defense,” said Banks, a longtime criminal defense attorney who also once served as a federal prosecutor. “They did not know the unannounced trespasser shining a flashlight into their house at night was a cop and were in fear for their lives.”

According to Banks, squatters had taken shelter in a home across the street and had made death threats against the couple after they helped the property owner try to get the squatters evicted. On the night of the shooting, the couple believed that one of the squatters was on their property, Banks said.

RELATED: Caldwell County deputy wounded near Dale; 2 in custody

The Caldwell County sheriff’s office initially said shortly after the shooting that “deputies responded (to a call for service) and took fire,” but Banks said his investigative sources tell him that only the deputy responded and that he fired his weapon first.

He declined to speculate on other details of the shooting, saying only that “ballistics will show which weapon the projectiles came from.”

Banks said the deputy, who was wounded in the hand and shoulder, failed to turn on his emergency lights when he arrived at the house and never announced that he was a deputy until after the shooting.

“They thought there was a prowler on the premises,” he said. “It was someone trespassing on their property as far as they knew.”

Once they realized the “prowler” was actually a sheriff’s deputy, “they staunched his wounds and helped bring aid from the ambulance,” he said. “They did everything they could to help that officer.”

Banks said Padilla was a FedEx driver with no criminal record and Moore had previously worked for the Travis County sheriff’s office for 10 years.

Padilla and Moore remained in the Caldwell County Jail on Saturday with bail set for each of them at $1.25 million.

The Caldwell County sheriff’s office said the Texas Rangers, the investigative arm of the state’s Department of Public Safety, were looking into the case. Neither agency was able to provide more information about the case on Saturday.

The incident in Caldwell County is the third time in four months that Central Texas law enforcement officers have been struck by gunfire in the line of duty, including a Hays County sheriff’s deputy who was wounded Nov. 24 while responding to a reported burglary near Wimberley and a San Marcos police officer fatally shot Dec. 4 while serving a warrant.

Authorities in those cases have described the shootings as ambushes.

“That is absolutely not the situation here,” Banks said of the Caldwell County shooting. “Any suggestion that this was an ambush is unfounded.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

NC woman wins $1 million scratch-off jackpot
NC woman wins $1 million scratch-off jackpot

Winner, winner, before that chicken dinner. A North Carolina woman is $1 million richer after buying a scratch-off ticket while purchasing her meal, WRAL reported. Sayanna Bragg bought a dozen chicken wings and a soft drink at a Durham convenience store and decided to purchase a Million Dollar Fever scratch-off ticket.  When she got to her...
Georgia dad, daughter sing their way to more Girl Scout cookie sales
Georgia dad, daughter sing their way to more Girl Scout cookie sales

Who knew Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” would make good Girl Scout cookie-selling music? A father and daughter team from Georgia created a viral video in which they ride in the car while subbing out the song’s original lyrics to push Girl Scout cookies. The song is performed by Grammy-winning Georgia artist Childish Gambino...
Lawsuit accuses Taylor facility of forcing immigrant detainees to work for little or no pay
Lawsuit accuses Taylor facility of forcing immigrant detainees to work for little or no pay

A class action lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday argues that a company that manages immigrant detention centers — including the T. Don Hutto Center in Taylor — is violating the federal Trafficking Victims and Protection Act by forcing labor on those in the center. Martha Gonzalez — a Harris County resident who was formerly detained...
Abbott spares death row inmate’s life, heeding father’s plea
Abbott spares death row inmate’s life, heeding father’s plea

Gov. Greg Abbott agreed Thursday evening to spare the life of death row inmate Thomas Whitaker, announcing his decision less than an hour before the Houston-area man’s scheduled execution. Abbott said a number of factors distinguished Whitaker’s case from 30 other executions that had taken place under his watch as governor, including the...
Teen charged with making threats, prompts Akins High lockdown
Teen charged with making threats, prompts Akins High lockdown

A 17-year-old former student was arrested after he “threatened to shoot and blow up” Akins High School on Thursday, the Austin school district police chief said. The teen, who up until two weeks ago had been a student, made threats in person at the school and on a school bus, interim Chief Chris Evoy said. Police seized a magazine and ammunition...
More Stories