Kimble County, TX — Kimble County Sheriff Hilario Cantu is taking fire in the form of criticism after he opened fire on an innocent man, dumping 10 rounds into him and his truck. Quite unlike what the general public would face, in the form of criminal charges, Cantu will likely face no charges, serve no time in jail, and will potentially not even be disciplined for shooting up the wrong moving vehicle. What started out as a traffic stop for a missing license plate nearly turned deadly for both one police officer and one hapless innocent bystander.
When officer Lee Meadow pulled over a Gray Chevy Colorado pickup he had no idea the motorist would allegedly pull out a gun and shoot at him as he was standing beside the driver’s side window. After the certain brush with death, the suspect fled. Meadow then radioed in that a suspect in a Gray Chevy Colorado had shot at him and then fled.
Hearing the call come over the radio, Cantu and another deputy grabbed some long guns, and ran out of the police precinct to intercept the wanna-be cop killer. Cantu and his deputy took a position along an exit of the highway and noticed a truck coming in their direction and believed it to be the suspect vehicle. Cantu took aim and fired 10 rounds of .223 ammunition from his AR-15 into the truck. But there was one major problem. The truck Cantu shot was a White Silverado not a Gray Colorado. It also had only two doors—not four.
Despite there being a difference in size between the two vehicles, and the fact the truck was a completely different color, Cantu fired at the truck nonetheless. The sheriff’s bullets found their mark with at least one of the bullets piercing the side of Hugo Reyes, an oil field worker from West Texas. Reyes was on the phone with his wife, Amparo Villareal, at the time he was shot. She told reporters:
He told me he saw the police on the side of the road...He thought it was weird that they had big guns...Suddenly we heard this ruckus. I thought he’d gotten distracted and he’d hit somebody. Then the phone cut off.
Reyes has yet to make a formal statement but his lawyer described what happened next to the innocent victim in the shooting. Bobby Garcia, the family’s lawyer, said Reyes was treated like a cop shooter when he arrived at the hospital and said the man suffered dearly. According to the Houston Chronicle:
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He said Reyes was hit by several bullets and suffered two collapsed lungs and an injured liver. Villarreal said her husband spent several days in the hospital. She said he only recently was able to return to work.
The family is now over $250,000 in debt to medical bills and they have yet to receive so much as an apology from Cantu or the county. Garcia says it has been an apparent nightmare for the family. They have yet to file a lawsuit against the sheriff and the county.
According to the Houston Chronicle, a grand jury refused to indict Cantu and he was not disciplined for his actions. Cantu said he thought of his wife’s car which was a white-like silver when he heard the call of a gray truck come over the radio. In fact, the sheriff said he would do it all over again if presented with the same circumstances which he faced on that fateful day. As for the real shooting suspect, the Chronicle writes:
Sharrod Moore, who was fleeing a murder he'd committed in El Paso, pulled off the highway at the exit past Sheriff Cantu and killed himself.
If a member of the public had taken it upon themselves to shoot at a fleeing suspect vehicle and mistakenly hit the wrong truck and the wrong suspect, it is almost certain he or she would not see the light of day for quite some time.
However, because the perpetrator wears a badge, he will face no consequences. Shameful indeed, but not an isolated incident. As TFTP reported in 2016, exposing the double standard between police and civilians, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that no criminal charges will be filed against the eight LAPD officers responsible for nearly killing an innocent woman and her daughter. Although the cops ambushed the unarmed women without warning and fired over 100 bullets without provocation, the district attorney justified the case of mistaken identity due to the fact that the officers involved were afraid and incompetent.