Jury indicts man who shot officer inside CVS pharmacy
A grand jury has indicted a man on a dozen charges, accusing him of shooting a police officer during a July 4 attempted robbery at a CVS pharmacy on the 700 block of Alton Gloor Boulevard.
Luis Armendariz Jr., 38, is charged with one count of attempt to commit capital murder of a peace officer, 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.
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.
When the Brownsville Police Department responded to the robbery, Armendariz, who was using crutches to walk, is accused of exchanging gunfire with police, shooting Mario Garza, a 16-year veteran of the BPD, in the leg.
Armendariz was shot in his stomach and leg and was arrested on July 16 after being medically cleared and released from Valley Regional Medical Center.
Garza has since recovered and is back on duty.
Arrest warrants for Armendariz describe a harrowing scene inside the CVS Pharmacy y Más that two families and a pharmacist experienced before police shot Armendariz.
After lingering for a couple hours, Armendariz went and sat at a booth in front of the pharmacy and handed a note to a pharmacist that stated, “This is not a joke,” according to the arrest warrants.
The pharmacist read the note and appeared alarmed, according to a Texas Ranger who reviewed store surveillance video. The Texas Rangers investigated the shooting.
“ The pharmacist quickly gathered several medicine bottles and placed the bottles on the booth where Armendariz waited,” the arrest warrants state.
Investigators later recovered 440 pills of Alprazolam, Hydrocodone and OxyContine valued at $2,871.55, according to the warrants.
Just six minutes after Armendariz handed the pharmacist the note, people began calling 911 to report that an armed man was threatening to kill people, the warrants state.
Brownsville Police Department Officer Felipe Cepeda and Sgt. Rolando Avitia, along with Garza, responded to the scene.
“ Officer Cepeda saw Armendariz near the pharmacy with crutches and a handgun in his right hand,” the arrest warrants state.
Cepeda later told a Texas Ranger that he told Armendariz to drop the gun several times, but Armendariz didn’t comply.
“ At one point, Cepeda observed Armendariz point the handgun at him and walked away from Cepeda toward the rear of the store, near the pharmacy. Cepeda did not discharge his weapon at Armendariz because he was not sure if there were customers standing behind Armendariz and he was also not sure if the pharmacist was still standing in or near the pharmacy,” the arrest warrants state.
Cepeda then lost sight of Armendariz and heard rapid gunshots.
The arrest warrants confirm Garza shot at Armendariz.
Along with the pharmaceutical medications, authorities recovered a .45 caliber Rock Island Armory 1911 handgun on top of a black backpack and two 50-count boxes of .45 caliber cartridges.
The warrants also revealed that Armendariz allegedly pointed the gun at two mothers who were at the CVS with their children to fill prescriptions. Those witnesses told investigators they heard the officers command Armendariz to drop the gun and reported hearing three rapid gunshots.
As of Monday afternoon, court records didn’t indicate when Armendariz would be arraigned on the charges.