Palmview H-E-B mass shooter found guilty on all counts

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — The suspect in a deadly shooting at a Hidalgo County H-E-B store will be heading to prison after being found guilty on all charges.

A jury deliberated for about 10 hours before delivering the guilty verdict against 31-year-old Raul Lopez for one count of murder, three counts of attempted murder, three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and a count of attempted capital murder of multiple persons, according to the Brownsville Herald.

Lopez has remained in custody since Nov. 28, 2016, after he reportedly fired 19 shots into a breakroom at the H-E-B in Palmview where overnight workers were taking a break around 3:30 a.m.

Mario Pulido, 48, was killed after being shot nine times. Billy Joe Martinez, then 33, Rafael Martinez, then 37, and Frailan Garza, then 51, were reportedly injured.

Lopez pled not guilty by insanity, with defense attorneys claiming he did not know his actions were wrong.

Prosecutors countered that Lopez made the decision to dump his 9mm Desert Eagle with two magazines at a neighboring lot after the shooting, to call 9-1-1 on himself and to apologize to his wife before his arrest. All of these choices, prosecutors said, were indicative that Lopez understood his actions were wrong.

Defense attorneys said Lopez suffers from schizophrenia which impeded his ability to know right from wrong. Both the defense and the prosecution brought in forensic psychiatrists to discuss Lopez’s diagnosis, which the prosecution entered there was no diagnosis of schizophrenia and the defense testified with a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.

The court-appointed forensic psychologist Gregorio Piña, who was selected to determine whether Lopez was competent to stand trial, testified on the state’s request and said Lopez does suffer from mild to moderate schizophrenia but was exaggerating his symptoms for personal gain. Piña cautioned his condition would deteriorate without proper treatment as schizophrenia is a life-long illness.

Prosecutors offered possible motives for the shooting in trial, including the fact Lopez knew he was on the verge of termination due to insubordination.

23 witnesses testified in the trial which lasted two weeks before the jury entered deliberations late Monday before returning the verdict Tuesday afternoon.

Lopez is scheduled to be sentenced on April 26th. The Herald reports that, before the trial, Lopez elected that state District Judge Fernando Mancias sentence him as opposed to the jury.

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