Port Isabel constable under fire over gun

Action 4 News reporter Ryan Wolf talks with the newly-elected constable.

A newly-elected and appointed Cameron County constable is under fire in a controversy over a gun.

Jose Maldonado, Jr. was voted into office in the November general election to serve as the Constable for Precinct 1 in Port Isabel.

Maldonado doesn't get sworn in until January but Cameron County commissioners voted to appoint him as a interim constable through the end of the year due to a vacancy created by his jailed predecessor Saul Ochoa.

But Action 4 News learned that Maldonado is under investigation by the Cameron County Sheriff's Department for allegedly giving his county-issued handgun to a cousin at a house party over the weekend.

The county-issued weapon was reportedly fired outside the house several times.

"I don't know what happened... where down the road it came out... where I had loaned out my weapon," Maldonado said.

Sheriff deputies were called out to a home off La Brecha Drive outside San Benito because of reports of shots fired on Saturday evening.

At least four calls came in. Maldonado admits they did come from outside the home.

"That night we heard the howling of the coyotes close to the corrals," Maldonado said. "So, we went over there and shot at the coyotes."

But is the coyote story just a cover-up?

Action 4 News obtained an incident report compiled from four law enforcement officers at the scene. None of them made any reference to coyotes as a motive.

Instead, the report indicated that both men appeared drunk and even quoted Maldonado admitting to actions that could be considered as a liability to the county.

The report read in part, "I asked Mr. Maldonado if he allowed a non county employee to discharge the county issued handgun... He replied yes... Mr. Maldonado then began to apologize to the deputies and I."

Even his cousin admits in the report to shooting a magazine into the air using Maldonado's .40 Caliber Glock that had a matching county serial number.

Still, the Constable says the report is all wrong.

"I misinterpreted him... I thought he was asking if I had fired my weapon and I said yes... I discharged my weapon," Maldonado said.

That likely wouldn't be illegal since both were within the county TMs limits.

However, the point of contention is whether Maldonado was as highly intoxicated as the report states or with blood shot eyes, slurred speech and unsteady balance when he allegedly gave his county gun to another person.