Update: Police release names of 3 suspects in shootingPublished 2:24pm Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Three men were criminally charged Wednesday for an alleged shootout in Austin that ended when one suspect was struck in the chest by a bullet.
Officers went to the 700 block of 11th Street NE at about 4 p.m. Monday after receiving a call about shots fired, according to the Mower County Court complaint. Police also received a call at about 4:45 from one suspect, Reynaldo Veraza, 34, of Austin, who said he had been shot in the chest. He is OK.
Veraza told officers a man stepped in front of his vehicle and threatened to fight, so Veraza got out of the vehicle, according to the court complaint. While the two argued, another suspect, Fidel Molina, 31, of Austin, emerged from near a house and shot the rear windows out of Veraza’s SUV. Veraza further claims the man who confronted him in the street dropped a handgun, so Veraza grabbed it, got back in his SUV, fled and threw the gun out the window near East Side Lake. Police did not find that weapon, the complaint adds.
In a differing account of the events, Molina claims Veraza and his brother, Raymundo Veraza, 35, of Austin, were the aggressors. He said the Verazas each drove by Molina’s house, parked across the street and argued with the man in the street — the same man who was previously sitting with Molina on Molina’s porch. Molina claims Raymundo drew a gun, so he yelled to his friend in the street before he and that man ran behind his house. Molina and that man reported hearing gunshots. According to the court complaint, Molina admitted to grabbing a .22-caliber rifle and returning fire, which struck Reynaldo’s SUV and hit Reynaldo in the chest.
Police Chief Brian Krueger said detectives found .22-caliber and 9 mm shell casings at the scene. According to the court complaint, gunfire from Raymundo went through Molina’s house and lodged into a neighbor’s house, as well. While Raymundo claims he was at work during the shooting, police discovered he clocked out of work shortly before the shooting. A witness nearby also saw several men standing by the SUVs and arguing before one raised his arm and fired shots. The witness believes someone returned fire from near the house, as well. The officer who spoke with Reynaldo later took him to Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin for his gunshot wound. The three suspects are held in the Mower County jail on $250,000 bail.
Reynaldo faces first-degree riot while armed with a weapon, drive-by shooting at a person or building and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Raymundo faces those same charges, and another charge for felon in possession of a firearm. Molina was charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, as well, along with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.
It is unclear if the fourth suspect will be charged.