Texas Rangers lead investigation of DPS trooper, police shooting

Law enforcement officers investigate the scene where DPS officer Moises Sanchez was shot as he responded to an accident on the corner of 10th street and Freddy Gonzalez drive on Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

EDINBURG — A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper who was shot Saturday night remains hospitalized, Edinburg Police Chief Cesar Torres said Monday.

The chief held a brief news conference to update the community on the investigation into the shooting of Trooper Moises Sanchez, 48, who is stable but in critical condition at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. He released little new information beyond what DPS shared in the hours following the shooting, which occurred shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday.

The Texas Rangers, the investigative arm of DPS, are leading the investigation.

Victor Alejandro Godinez, 24 of Edinburg, was taken into custody between 12:30 and 12:50 a.m. Sunday by Edinburg police and was arraigned later that morning on three counts of attempted capital murder of a peace officer.

Godinez allegedly shot Sanchez after the trooper responded to a car crash on North 10th Street and Freddy Gonzalez Drive in McAllen. Godinez, who is believed to be the driver of one of the vehicles in the crash, fled the scene on foot for an unknown reason and opened fire on Sanchez after the trooper caught up to him in the 1500 block of S. Maltese Street in Edinburg.

Godinez then allegedly opened fire on two Edinburg police officers before they apprehended him east of Mon Mack Road and U.S. Highway 107. Neither officer was injured, Torres said, and police recovered a .357 revolver believed to have been used in either or both shootings.

The suspect was also shot at some point during the evening, but the chief said it was unclear whether he was shot by the trooper or police.

McAllen police did not respond to requests for comment about the traffic accident.

Godinez is in the custody of the Hidalgo County jail on a $3 million bond.

His only other run-in with the law was an October 2018 arrest on a misdemeanor accident involving damage to a vehicle charge stemming from a September 2018 incident in which he allegedly left the scene of a car crash in Pharr.

That case is set for a May 2 status hearing, according to county court records.

The Edinburg police chief used the news conference to warn Hidalgo County residents that any threats made against law enforcement officers in the wake of the shooting would be “aggressively target(ed).”

“As a result of this incident, we’ve received a lot of (negativity) on social media which appear to be threats towards law enforcement so we are aggressively looking at those comments,” Torres said, adding the shooting was an isolated incident.

A prayer vigil for Sanchez is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 at Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance at 118 Paseo Del Prado Ave.

Those looking to donate to the trooper can contribute money to the Sanchez Family (Account #1371855) at Texas Regional Bank, according to DPS spokesman Lt. Johnny Hernandez. Check or money orders should be made payable to “FBO Moises Sanchez.”

The family is also accepting donations via its PayPal account, which uses the contribution email Usmarines70@att.net.