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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 22, 2019

Illegal Alien Sentenced to Federal Prison for Unlawful Possession of a Semiautomatic Rifle

Rolando Martinez admitted to firing a semiautomatic rifle at persons and vehicles in Austin wounding five

In Austin today, a federal judge sentenced 27-year-old Mexican National Rolando Martinez to 106 months in federal prison for a 2017 shooting spree that resulted in five people being injured, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski, Houston Division, and Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ordered that Martinez pay $2,240 restitution to his victims.

On December 4, 2018, Martinez pleaded guilty to one count of illegal alien in possession of a firearm.  According to court records, beginning in the early morning hours of November 4, 2017, the Austin Police Department received numerous 911 calls regarding a Hispanic male driving a black vehicle while firing a semiautomatic rifle at persons and vehicles.  Based on information provided to law enforcement, members of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force were able to identify and apprehend the defendant that evening on outstanding warrants.  Texas Department of Public Safety troopers also located Martinez’s vehicle abandoned near Interstate 35 and East Highway 290 in Austin.  Inside the vehicle, they discovered a semiautomatic rifle which matched a description provided by victims and witnesses.  During a subsequent search of the defendant’s residence, authorities discovered a “Firearms Transfer Bill of Sale” made out to the defendant for an AR-15 with the same serial number found on the weapon seized from inside the defendant’s vehicle.  Martinez later admitted that he had been drinking at a local bar the night before and did not remember much prior to waking up in a grassy median approximately 200 feet from where his vehicle was discovered abandoned.

“In this case, a person who should not have been in this country got drunk, got his hands on an AR-15, and started shooting at random people in Austin. Thank God no one was killed,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.

The ATF, together with the Austin Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety, conducted this investigation.   Assistant U.S. Attorney Grant Sparks prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Topic(s): 
Immigration
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated March 22, 2019