Crime

San Marcos teacher charged with having improper relationship with student

San Marcos teacher charged with having improper relationship with student

A San Marcos teacher and coach is accused of having an improper relationship with a student, according to his arrest affidavit. Rodney Guerrero, 39, was arrested Saturday and charged with improper relationship between educator/student. He describes himself as “the boys athletic coordinator at Goodnight Middle School” on the school’s website.  The student first met...
Austin school bus driver sexually abused student, police say

Austin school bus driver sexually abused student, police say

An Austin school district bus driver who admitted touching a 5-year-old student inappropriately several times was arrested Friday and charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child, his arrest affidavit says. Cesar Antonio Maldonado, 57, was booked into the Travis County Jail on Friday night and was still being held in lieu of $50,000 bail Monday afternoon. School district police got involved in...
Hairs to be tested for DNA ahead of second trial in Kathy Blair’s death

Hairs to be tested for DNA ahead of second trial in Kathy Blair’s death

Travis County prosecutors will order the testing of additional forensic evidence ahead of Shawn Gant-Benalcazar’s second capital murder trial in October. His first trial ended in a hung jury in April. Nine hairs found in homicide victim Kathy Blair’s hand will be sent to a lab at the University of North Texas to be compared with Gant-Benalcazar’s DNA profile, prosecutor Andrea Austin...

Texas Digest: Despite bonuses, prisons still short of guards

CRIMINAL JUSTICE Prisons short of guards despite bonuses The Texas prison system is still facing staffing shortages seven months after designating $9 million to bring down the 14 percent officer vacancy rate. The Houston Chronicle reported that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has 3,675 unfilled positions, about 30 more than in January, when state officials started addressing the issue. But...
Authorities arrest man suspected of vandalizing Buda elementary school

Authorities arrest man suspected of vandalizing Buda elementary school

Hays County deputies have arrested a man who they say broke into an elementary school in Buda and vandalized it last week, officials said Monday.  Authorities say a man forced his way into Carpenter Hill Elementary School at the 4400 block of FM 967 on early Friday. The man caused extensive damage to the school estimated to be between $150,000 and $300,000, authorities said. He destroyed...
Austin school bus driver accused of sexually assaulting young student, affidavit states

Austin school bus driver accused of sexually assaulting young student, affidavit states

An Austin school district bus driver who admitted touching a 5-year-old student inappropriately several times was arrested Friday and charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child, his arrest affidavit says. Cesar Antonio Maldonado, 57, was booked into the Travis County Jail on Friday night and was still being held in lieu of $50,000 bail Monday afternoon. School district police got involved in...
New evidence to be tested ahead of Shawn Gant-Benalcazar’s second trial

New evidence to be tested ahead of Shawn Gant-Benalcazar’s second trial

11 a.m. update: Potential DNA evidence that was not tested before Shawn Gant-Benalcazar’s first trial will be tested before his second trial, prosecutors informed state District Judge David Crain on Monday. Nine hairs found in the hand of homicide victim Kathy Blair will be sent to University of North Texas’ forensic lab to be analyzed. The results of the testing are expected to be available...

Texas Digest: Tent city for immigrant teens to stay open

IMMIGRATION Teen tent city to stay open another month Texas lawmakers say they have been told that a temporary tent shelter in far West Texas for immigrant minors will stay open another month. Democratic state Reps. Ina Minjarez and Diego Bernal of San Antonio told the San Antonio Express-News that they toured the Tornillo facility Friday. About 170 teen boys are being housed in tents there. The U...
Affidavit: Two teens arrested for stealing SUV with 5-year-old girl inside

Affidavit: Two teens arrested for stealing SUV with 5-year-old girl inside

Two teens were arrested Thursday after police say they stole a vehicle in North Austin that had a 5-year-old girl inside it. Randy Torres, 19, and Simon Nunez, 17, have been charged with aggravated robbery in the carjacking. Torres also was charged with kidnapping, after admitting to police he drove away in the vehicle knowing there was a child inside it, court documents stated. Police said they...
Pflugerville woman counts 18 bullets entering apartment during barrage

Pflugerville woman counts 18 bullets entering apartment during barrage

For an agonizingly tense three hours overnight Wednesday, Julie Glidewell said, she huddled in her closet with three other people as gunfire reverberated outside her Pflugerville apartment. The barrage was so loud it sounded like a war zone, she said. The first gunshot rang out shortly after 11 p.m., when Glidewell’s neighbor from across the hall started firing shots into the complex, according...

BLOTTER: Teen arrested after man badly hurt in hit-and-run

EAST AUSTIN Austin police have arrested a man who’s suspected of driving drunk and crashing into an East Austin bus stop Friday, leaving one man seriously injured, court documents state. Dipak Thapa, 19, has been charged with intoxication assault and accident involving serious bodily injury following the crash that happened at around 5:40 p.m. Friday. Police were called to the 2400 block of...
Affidavit: Suspected drunken driver slams into bus stop in SE Austin, severing man’s leg

Affidavit: Suspected drunken driver slams into bus stop in SE Austin, severing man’s leg

Austin police have arrested a man suspected of a drunken driving crash into a South Austin bus stop Friday night that severed a man’s leg. Dipak Thapa, 19, has been charged with intoxication assault and accident involving serious bodily injury following the crash that happened at around 5:40 p.m. Friday in Southeast Austin. Police were called to the 2400 block of East Riverside Drive, just...
NEW DETAILS: Man charged after firing 100 rounds into Pflugerville apartment complex

NEW DETAILS: Man charged after firing 100 rounds into Pflugerville apartment complex

A 31-year-old man has been charged with multiple felonies after Pflugerville police say he fired more than 100 gunshots into an apartment complex on Wednesday night.  David Deluna has been charged with four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of deadly conduct, authorities said. No officers were injured in the incident on Wednesday. Police said they were called...
Fatal shooting between friends on 24th birthday leads to jail sentence

Fatal shooting between friends on 24th birthday leads to jail sentence

Longtime friends Fischer Hoisington and Aaron Moore had planned to celebrate their shared 24th birthday with a simple night of video games and drinking. But the December 2016 get-together at Moore’s South Austin apartment turned deadly when their attention turned to a 9-millimeter handgun that only Moore, the owner of the firearm, realized was loaded and cocked. As Moore started to caution his...
Hays County elementary school vandalized, officials say

Hays County elementary school vandalized, officials say

A Hays County elementary school was vandalized Friday morning, sheriff’s officials said. A man forced his way into Carpenter Hill Elementary School, near Buda, and caused extensive damage inside the school, Hays County sheriff’s officials said. Deputies believe the man was driving a dark-colored car. The man pictured above is a person of interest in the case, the Hays County sheriff&rsquo...
BLOTTER: 6 hurt, including 3 children, in I-35 crash in South Austin

BLOTTER: 6 hurt, including 3 children, in I-35 crash in South Austin

SOUTH AUSTIN 6 hurt, including 3 children, in I-35 crash Six people, including three children, were injured Friday in a fiery crash involving multiple vehicles on Interstate 35 in South Austin, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said. Medics said they responded at noon to the collision in the southbound lanes of the 4700 block of I-35 South, between Texas 71 and Stassney Lane. EMS reported that a...
26-year-old charged in shooting that seriously injured man in New Braunfels

26-year-old charged in shooting that seriously injured man in New Braunfels

A 26-year-old was arrested Thursday night in New Braunfels in connection with a shooting that left one man seriously injured, New Braunfels police said. Michael Medina, who is from New Braunfels, has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, police said. Police received reports of the shooting at 11:20 p.m. to a house in the 100 block of Caddell Lane. When they arrived, they...
Kyle officer to surrender badge, dog after felony cruelty conviction

Kyle officer to surrender badge, dog after felony cruelty conviction

The law enforcement career of a Kyle police officer might be over after a Travis County jury found him guilty Thursday of beating and seriously injuring a dog he bought for his fiancée last year. David Salinas’ felony conviction for animal cruelty triggers the automatic revocation of his peace officer’s license, according to state law. He must also surrender the dog, a 7-year-old...
Police: Man ordered family out of car at Cedar Park HEB or ‘something bad was going to happen’

Police: Man ordered family out of car at Cedar Park HEB or ‘something bad was going to happen’

An arrest affidavit provides more details on a car robbery in early July at a Cedar Park HEB grocery store that had a mother and her children in fear of being assaulted. Authorities charged Brandon Hovey, 42, with robbery in relation to a car-jacking July 7 at the HEB grocery store at 2800 E. Whitestone Blvd. If found guilty, he could face as many as 20 years in prison. Prior to police charging Hovey...
Firework tossed at Austin gay bar shocks patrons 2nd time this summer

Firework tossed at Austin gay bar shocks patrons 2nd time this summer

A downtown Austin gay bar is beefing up security after someone threw a firework onto its patio for the second time this summer, setting off a cloud of smoke that sent patrons scrambling early Thursday just days before Austin Pride weekend. Steve Rivas said he was at the Iron Bear on West Eighth Street for karaoke night with his husband when, shortly after 1 a.m., he heard a loud, thunderous bang that...

Texas Digest: Dallas official pleads guilty to accepting bribes

DALLAS Key official guilty of accepting bribes Federal prosecutors say Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway accepted more than $450,000 in kickbacks and bribes, in part through gambling money, trips to Las Vegas and elsewhere, and a phony consulting agreement. Caraway, the second highest-ranking elected official in Dallas, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion, according to court documents filed...

Man injured while escaping duplex fire in North Austin, officials say

NORTH AUSTIN Man injured while escaping duplex fire, officials say A man was injured Thursday morning while escaping a fire at a North Austin duplex, according to fire officials. The man was hurt as he exited a window with help from a neighbor, officials said. He was taken by Austin-Travis County EMS medics to a hospital in good condition. The Austin Fire Department said it responded at 10:18 a.m...
Kyle cop convicted of animal cruelty for severe injuries to poodle

Kyle cop convicted of animal cruelty for severe injuries to poodle

7:30 p.m. update: A jury has found Kyle police officer David Salinas guilty of animal cruelty for life-threatening injuries to his fiancée’s poodle Frisco. The felony conviction triggers a revocation of Salinas’ peace officer’s license. Rather than be sentenced by the jury, Salinas agreed to two years probation and to surrender Frisco to a foster family under an agreement...
Update: Man arrested after Pflugerville apartment shooting

Update: Man arrested after Pflugerville apartment shooting

Update: A man suspected of firing multiple shots in an apartment complex in Pflugerville on Wednesday night has been arrested, Pflugerville police said.  Officers received reports of gunshots at Highlands Luxury Apartments in the 1500 block of South Heatherwilde Boulevard around 11:11 p.m. When officers arrived, more shots were fired by someone inside an apartment, officials said. Police...
State auditor: Texas is failing to protect its most vulnerable adults

State auditor: Texas is failing to protect its most vulnerable adults

The state agency charged with investigating abuse and neglect and with protecting older Texans and those with disabilities from financial exploitation did not consistently follow its policies and procedures for in-home investigations, the Texas state auditor reported Wednesday. The audit found that specialists and managers at the Adult Protective Services division of the Department of Family and Protective...
Buda teen arrested 3 times this summer after string of vehicle burglaries, police say

Buda teen arrested 3 times this summer after string of vehicle burglaries, police say

Deputies arrested a Buda teenager three separate times this summer and charged him each time with burglary of a vehicle. The vehicle burglaries happened in the Sunfield, Shadow Creek and Crosswinds subdivisions in Hays County, sheriff’s officials said. In total, 17-year-old Matthew Xavier Acosta faces nine separate charges of burglary of a vehicle, Hays County sheriff’s officials...
5 new sex assault victims accuse Austin-area officials of failing them

5 new sex assault victims accuse Austin-area officials of failing them

Five women have joined a class action suit accusing Travis County and Austin officials of not adequately investigating or prosecuting sexual assault cases, according to new court filings. The women join three other plaintiffs who in June filed the suit against Travis County, the city of Austin, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore, former District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, Austin Police...
20-year sentence upheld for Smithville woman in daughter’s death

20-year sentence upheld for Smithville woman in daughter’s death

The 3rd Court of Appeals upheld a 20-year prison sentence for a Smithville woman with three drunken driving arrests who failed to abstain from alcohol while on probation for a car wreck that killed her 7-year-old daughter. The court released a short opinion Wednesday, saying it did not find any reversible error in the February sentence a district court judge handed down to Jennifer Zapalac...

Health officials seek women who handled rabid bat in downtown Austin

DOWNTOWN AUSTIN Health officials seeking women who handled rabid bat Health officials are looking for several women who handled a bat last week near the Austin Convention Center downtown that has since tested positive for rabies. The bat was initially found by a passerby near Fourth and Red River streets on Aug. 2 around 4:30 p.m. “Multiple females were seen picking up a bat from the sidewalk...
Kyle officer on trial after poodle hospitalized with broken ribs

Kyle officer on trial after poodle hospitalized with broken ribs

Frisco, a miniature poodle, was hospitalized last year with 17 broken ribs, a punctured lung and significant bruising under his white fluffy coat. Travis County prosecutors believe it was the result of a beating by the dog’s owner, a Kyle police officer. David Salinas, 34, is charged with animal cruelty in connection with the life-threatening injuries Frisco allegedly sustained while the two...
Federal agents teach Central Texas officers to sift clues from bombs

Federal agents teach Central Texas officers to sift clues from bombs

Bomb experts from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives detonated a series of explosive devices this week in Williamson County to teach Central Texas law enforcement officers how to investigate controlled detonations or bomb attacks similar to the ones that terrorized Austin in March. The blasts Monday at a Texas Department of Public Safety firing range in Florence were...
Senate school safety plan: More counselors, marshals; no ‘red flag’ law

Senate school safety plan: More counselors, marshals; no ‘red flag’ law

A special Texas Senate committee, formed to recommend changes in the wake of the Santa Fe High School shooting, which left 10 dead in May, released a report Monday that focused on strategies for beefing up school security while rejecting actions that could limit gun rights. The panel of six Republicans and three Democrats proposed legislation that would help school districts hire more counselors,...
Man wounded in Austin police shootout ID’d, jailed with $500K bail

Man wounded in Austin police shootout ID’d, jailed with $500K bail

Court documents made available Monday identified the 27-year-old man critically wounded in a gunfight with Austin police last week but provided few new details. But Austin police did identify the two officers who fired their weapons in the city’s seventh police shooting this year. Craig Anthony Carter, who is accused of assaulting his mother and leading police on a lengthy car chase through...
Driver accused of fatal hit-and-run now charged with manslaughter

Driver accused of fatal hit-and-run now charged with manslaughter

SOUTH AUSTIN Driver charged with manslaughter in fatal hit-and-run A driver accused of leaving after fatally hitting a man with his vehicle last week has been charged with manslaughter after Austin police said he drove recklessly, according to an arrest affidavit filed Monday. Darrell Smitty, 52, was previously charged in the case Aug. 2 with accident involving injury. He remained in jail on Monday...

Texas Digest: Victoria teen arrested in fatal shooting of another teen

VICTORIA 15-year-old arrested in 16-year-old’s death A 15-year-old boy has been arrested after a 16-year-old boy was found fatally shot in Victoria. Victoria Police Chief J.J. Craig said at a news conference that officers found Jeremiah Hernandez’s body in a field Saturday night. Craig said that early Saturday morning officers responded to a disturbance call about some apartments, where...
Driver accused in fatal hit-and-run charged with manslaughter, police say

Driver accused in fatal hit-and-run charged with manslaughter, police say

A driver accused of leaving after fatally hitting a man with his vehicle last week has been charged with manslaughter after Austin police said he drove recklessly, according to an arrest affidavit filed Monday. Darrell Smitty, 52, was previously charged in the case Aug. 2 with accident involving injury. He remained in jail on Monday with a combined bail set at $350,000 for both charges...
UPDATED: Austin police identify suspect, officers involved in shootout Friday

UPDATED: Austin police identify suspect, officers involved in shootout Friday

3:25 p.m. update: Austin police have identified the two officers involved in Friday’s chase and shootout. Officers Kendrick Witt and Douglas Trahan have both been with the Austin Police Department for five years and are assigned to Central West patrol, officials said. Witt and Trahan have been placed on administrative leave as is standard protocol after an officer-involved shooting. Earlier...
Man punches guard after smoking, taking beer from bar, authorities say

Man punches guard after smoking, taking beer from bar, authorities say

A man is accused of punching a security guard after being asked to not smoke inside a sports bar in Pflugerville. Sammy Cruz-Rodriguez, 27, was charged with one count of assault of a public servant Saturday morning, according to an arrest affidavit. Cruz-Rodriguez was seen by a security guard smoking inside La Cueva Sports Bar along the I-35 frontage road around 2 a.m., the affidavit said. The guard...
Firefighters put out house fire in Northwest Austin; none injured

Firefighters put out house fire in Northwest Austin; none injured

NORTHWEST AUSTIN Firefighters put out house fire; none injured Firefighters battled a small house fire Sunday in Northwest Austin and no one was injured, officials said. The Austin Fire Department responded at about 12:30 p.m. to smoke coming from a two-story home in the 8400 block of Cima Oak Lane. Crews knocked down the fire in the kitchen within 10 minutes and surveyed the scene to make sure the...

Off-duty cop kills dog while walking his own pet in Buda, deputies say

HAYS COUNTY Off-duty cop kills dog during pet walk in Buda, deputies say An off-duty Rollingwood police officer shot and killed a dog Wednesday morning in Buda while he was out walking his own dog, according to the Hays County sheriff’s office. No one was charged in the incident, but an investigation is ongoing, the sheriff’s office said. The Rollingwood Police Department has begun an...
ICE drops detainer for Austin woman jailed after mental health call

ICE drops detainer for Austin woman jailed after mental health call

Federal immigration officials on Friday dropped their request to detain an Austin woman who was jailed and charged two weeks ago with assault on a public servant while she was experiencing a mental health crisis. The American-Statesman first covered Tania Silva’s case last month after she was arrested July 19. After several people reported Silva was having a mental health crisis, she told Austin...
Meyer says he followed protocol in reporting 2015 abuse allegations

Meyer says he followed protocol in reporting 2015 abuse allegations

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Friday that he followed proper protocols in reporting domestic violence allegations against an assistant coach in 2015 but said he “failed” in telling reporters last month that he hadn’t been aware of the accusations. Meyer passionately defended himself in his first extensive comments since he was put on paid leave amid a university investigation...
Austin police wound man who attacked mom, shot at cops, officials say

Austin police wound man who attacked mom, shot at cops, officials say

A 27-year-old man was critically injured during a shootout with police Friday morning after pulling a gun on his mother and leading officers on a chase through Northwest Austin, authorities said. Police said no officers were injured by the man, who authorities did not identify at press time. Friday’s incident — the seventh Austin police shooting this year — began when a man attacked...
Off-duty Rollingwood cop kills dog during walk with his own pet in Buda, deputies say

Off-duty Rollingwood cop kills dog during walk with his own pet in Buda, deputies say

An off-duty Rollingwood police officer shot and killed a dog Wednesday morning in Buda while he was out walking his own dog, according to the Hays County sheriff’s office.  No one was charged in the incident, but an investigation is ongoing, the sheriff’s office said. The Rollingwood Police Department has begun an investigation into his actions of officer George Ronne, Rollingwood...

Body of woman found in Cedar Park pond near church, authorities say

CEDAR PARK Body found in pond near church, officials say A body was found Friday morning at a pond near Hill Country Bible Church, authorities said. Cedar Park police and fire personnel responded at 7:30 a.m. to a call from two fishermen who spotted the body close to the shoreline, officials said. The church is near the intersection of RM 620 North and Lake Creek Parkway. Police identified the person...
Deputies seize $55,000 in traffic stop in Georgetown

Deputies seize $55,000 in traffic stop in Georgetown

Williamson County sheriff’s deputies seized $55,000 during a traffic stop on Interstate 35 in Georgetown, Sheriff Robert Chody said in a tweet on Friday morning. The traffic stop was made in the 5300 block of I-35 after a vehicle failed to signal while making a lane change, Chody said. Deputies found $55,000 hidden in a secret compartment and arrested two people, he said. READ: Deputies seize...
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