Police were still searching at the end of this week for a late 1990s model, silver Camaro that witnesses said was involved in that shooting of 21-year-old Longoria Sunday afternoon.
The accused shooter, Richard Longoria, reportedly was a passenger in the vehicle when he started firing at the victim with a .22-caliber rifle at 3 p.m. on the north side of Kohler Park
Witnesses said they saw the shooter get out of the vehicle and keep firing at the victim until the 21-year-old was hit in the stomach area.
The vehicle was described as being silver with black racing stripes and Z28 stickers on the doors.
The suspect then jumped back in the vehicle, and the driver sped away from the scene.
Coastal Bend Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward for information that could lead to the apprehension of the driver.
Alex Longoria was rushed to Christus Spohn Hospital Beeville where he was later pronounced dead.
District Attorney José Aliseda confirmed Wednesday morning that his office had not yet received a first degree felony case filed against the suspect five months ago.
The prosecutor said it would have been legally impossible to hold the suspect without bail after he was arrested on March 7 on an aggravated robbery charge.
Aliseda said judges are bound by state law to set bail and if a defendant can post that bail, he or she must be released pending a formal trial.
The district attorney said Justice of the Peace Abel Suniga set Longoria’s bond at a reasonable amount for the severity of the crime for which he was charged in March. Aggravated robbery is a first degree felony and the suspect could be sentenced to life in prison if he is convicted of the offense.
Aliseda said his office has no input before a justice of the peace when a suspect is first arrested and his bond is set. Usually, the only time a member of the district attorney’s staff can recommend a bond to a judge is when the defendant is indicted.
Longoria has not yet been indicted on the robbery charge. The district attorney’s office often does not receive a case until months after a suspect has been arrested.
Judges have three criteria to consider when setting bonds. They include the risk of flight, the severity of the offense and the defendant’s previous criminal history.
Aliseda said getting out of jail on the robbery charge could not have been easy for the suspect. “You have to pay a bondsman 10 percent of the bond,” the prosecutor said, “He had to come up with $7,500 to get a $75,000 bond.”
Defendants are not just released and forgotten, Aliseda said. “It’s not like you’re completely free.”
Judges set conditions on the defendants that include reporting regularly to probation authorities. Also, defendants out on bond are forbidden from leaving the state.
In Longoria’s case, Suniga did take the previous offense into consideration when setting his bond on the murder charge. Longoria will have to come up with 10 percent of a $1.5 million bond and 10 percent of the $500,000 bond on the felon in possession of a firearms charges to get out on his current charges. That comes out to $200,000.
Aliseda said he has assigned the case to his border prosecutor, James Sales, because Longoria allegedly has ties to a Hispanic prison gang, Tango Blast.
Detectives said the illegal possession of a firearm by a felon charge also will include that the offense was committed in a gun-free zone since the offense allegedly was committed in a public park and across the street from a school.
Investigators said the previous felony conviction against the suspect occurred in Nueces County.
Sales said the previous felony could enhance the punishment range against the suspect to habitual status. That means he would be subject to no less than 15 years in prison if convicted. His sentence could end up being as much as 99 years to life in prison.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.