Sunday, June 29, 2008

Officer Arrested On Suspicion Of Shooting Man In Bar Fight


Police responded to the corner of 20th and Sidney streets at approximately 2:15 a.m. Saturday morning for the report of a man with a gun.

When they arrived at the scene, police discovered that officer Paul Abel had shot a 20-year-old male inside a bar at that location.

The police report states that Abel was driving home from a South Side bar when an unknown man reached into his driver's side window and punched him in the face.

Following this, Abel retrieved his pistol and returned to the bar to confront his attacker. With the gun in his hand, Abel swung at the victim and hit the back of his head with the butt of the weapon. The gun discharged upon contact and a bullet penetrated the victim's right hand. He was taken to Mercy Hospital for his injury.

Abel was arrested for aggravated assault and was also charged with DUI when it was discovered that his blood-alcohol content was above the legal limit.

Abel has been suspended while detectives investigate the matter.

And Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle reports that Abel is already the focus of a Citizen's Review Board investigation.

It stems from an altercation he was involved in with his brother-in-law at the Allegheny County Courthouse last year.

The Review Board accused him of conduct unbecoming of an officer and falsification of records.

His hearing with the board is scheduled to continue next month.

Officer Suspended after DWI Arrest


A Mission police officer has been suspended indefinitely after a Saturday morning arrest for allegedly driving an unmarked police car while drunk, officials said.

This is at least the third arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated for Officer Martin Flores Villarreal, 40, of Mission, and at least his second while driving an unmarked Mission police car, according to court records and Trooper Johnny Hernandez, a local spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The first two charges, in 2004 and 2006, were both dismissed, court records indicate.

Villarreal is suspended from the department indefinitely and without pay following his latest arrest, said Lt. Martin Garza, a Mission police spokesman. The accused officer has the right to appeal the suspension.

State troopers arrested Villarreal about 2:30 a.m. Saturday along the eastbound frontage road of Expressway 83 near the intersection with Raul Longoria Road, according to Hernandez.

Villarreal apparently was stopped on suspicion of a traffic violation, which Hernandez refused to detail. The Mission police officer failed a field sobriety test and was taken to the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office, where a breath test indicated his blood alcohol concentration was twice the legal limit, Hernandez said.

Under Texas law, any driver with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is considered intoxicated.

Three other passengers in the car -- two women and another Mission police officer -- did not appear to be intoxicated and were not detained, Hernandez said.

Villarreal, who was arraigned at the sheriff's office on a charge of driving while intoxicated, posted the state-mandated $502 bond and was released sometime Saturday morning, according to the sheriff's office.

Mission police Chief Leo Longoria could not be reached for comment.

This was at least the second time this year an officer with a local law enforcement agency was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

Hidalgo County Sheriff's Deputy Sergio Salaiz De Hoyos, 36, was arrested in mid-February in Donna. He resigned after Sheriff Lupe TreviƱo suspended him with pay. His case is pending in Hidalgo County Court-at-law No. 4

De Hoyos had at least one prior DWI arrest in 1990. Court records indicate he was convicted and completed a DWI education program.