Suspect makes court appearance, pleads not guilty of shooting officer
A man accused of a dozen charges that include attempted capital murder of a peace officer stemming from a July 4 officer-involved shooting at a CVS in Brownsville pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning.
Luis Armendariz Jr., 38, who is accused of shooting Brownsville Police Department Officer Mario Garza in the leg, is also charged with a count of aggravated robbery, three counts of aggravated assault against a public servant, six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of theft of property valued between $30,000 and $150,000.
Records obtained from the Texas Rangers through a Texas Public Information Act reveal that Armendariz’s motivation for the alleged robbery appears to be pharmaceutical drugs.
According to police documents, Armendariz is accused of entering the CVS on July 3 at approximately 11:46 p.m. and lingering around for two hours before handing a pharmacist a note at 1:13 a.m., threatening to kill everyone while demanding Hydrocodone, Zolpidem, Alprazolam and Oxycodone, a mixture of pain killer, anti-anxiety and sleep-aid medications.
During the robbery and gunfire exchange there were multiple people inside the CVS, including two mothers with children, according to an arrest warrant.
Minutes after Armendariz handed the pharmacist the note, people inside the CVS began calling 911 to report that an armed man was threatening to kill people, police documents indicate.
When Brownsville police showed up witnesses told investigators they heard officers command Armendariz to drop the gun and reported hearing three rapid gunshots.
Police records indicate Garza fired the shots that hit Armendariz in his stomach and leg. Authorities arrested Armendariz on July 16 after he was medically cleared and released from Valley Regional Medical Center.
Garza has since recovered from his gunshot wound and is back on duty.
Investigators later recovered 440 pills of Alprazolam, Hydrocodone and OxyContine valued at $2,871.55, according to an arrest warrant. Authorities also recovered a .45 caliber Rock Island Armory 1911 handgun on top of a black backpack and two 50-count boxes of .45 caliber cartridges.
Armendariz’s next scheduled court appearance is Jan. 30.