La Villa officer faces criminal charges

A La Villa police officer could face criminal charges for shooting an unarmed suspect in a police chase last month.

The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office has sent a recommendation to the Hidalgo County District Attorney TMs office that La Villa police officer David Coronado Jr. be indicted with a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

This is the first time Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said he has made such a recommendation.

"Now we do this with a very heavy heart, Trevino said. But the evidence is very clear in this case that we just cannot find the justification."

The sheriff's office began an independent investigation into an incident involving the officer who allegedly shot Santiago Bruno on September 23 for evading arrest.

Bruno allegedly stole beer from a Stripes convenience store and ran from police when confronted.

While in pursuit Bruno rolled his car and took off on foot.

It was then that Coronado fired his weapon three times, hitting Bruno twice.

Trevino said he might be able to understand one shot fired, but said there was no reason for a second.

"Mr. Bruno was unarmed and he was trying to get away from the situation when he was shot in the back. Trevino said. We cannot find any justification for that shooting."

The state law says officers can only use deadly force when they or someone else is confronted with deadly force, but with no weapon, Trevino says deadly force cannot be justified.

"We did a very thorough job and I feel good about the work that we did, Trevino said.

The sheriff is passing the case off to the district attorney for a second opinion.

"I want a second pair of eyes and a third pair of eyes to look at it, Trevino said.

The district attorney will review the findings of the investigation before passing it over to a grand jury.Action 4 reached out the La Villa Police Department who declined to comment on the case.Bruno still faces charges of burglary and evading arrest.