No new details in river shooting that left 1 dead

NEAR FRONTON — Authorities remained tightlipped the day following a deadly shooting that left one dead and two others injured after multiple rounds struck a fishing boat on the Rio Grande.

“The motive of the shooting is still unknown and the case is still under investigation,” officials said in a news release early Thursday afternoon.

Starr County Sheriff’s officials didn’t return calls Thursday as investigators continue to work with state, federal, and Mexican authorities to determine the motive behind the afternoon shooting.

Just before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday Starr County Sheriff’s deputies, along with U.S. Border Patrol agents and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, responded to a call of shots fired on the Rio Grande near the Fronton area, a small community in Western Starr County, officials said in a late Wednesday evening news release.

When authorities arrived, one man was dead, and two others had suffered non-life threatening gunshot wounds, officials said.

The surviving men told authorities bullets came from the Mexican side of the river, officials said.

But a day later authorities had not identified the deceased or the two injured; only saying that all three victims were in the country legally and that the status of the two men who suffered injuries had been upgraded to stable condition; but remained hospitalized.

The shooting is the second of its kind in Western Starr County in the last three months.

In early December a Starr County man was killed while boating on Falcon Lake, about 20 miles north of the Fronton area.

Just before 9 p.m., Dec. 6, 2016, deputies responded to Falcon State Park Boat Ramp, in Falcon Heights, in reference to a shooting involving two boats out on the lake, according to a news release from Zapata County Sheriff’s officials.

When deputies arrived they found one man dead inside a fishing boat and another man was found wading in the water by a Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden, officials said.

Officials said 23-year-old Oscar Eduardo Garza, of Rio Grande City, died at the scene as a result of three gunshot wounds, two to his left chest, and one to the left side of his head.

The other man, 21-year-old Javier Armando Gonzalez, was taken to a local hospital and treated for hyperthermia and eventually described to investigators his version of what took place that night.

Gonzalez told investigators that he and Garza were fishing when just after it got dark out, they heard shouting coming from another boat.

“Gonzalez stated he heard someone yelling and turned around. Gonzalez noticed that there was a boat a few feet away all blacked out. A male subject yelled at Gonzalez and Garza to get off of the boat,” the news release states. “Gonzalez then noticed that one of the two people on the boat had a rifle that appeared to be an AK-47. Gonzalez immediately accelerated the boat in attempt to get away.”

Gonzalez told authorities that their attempt to get away was unsuccessful as the men began firing at them, striking Garza multiple times, before Gonzalez abandoned the boat.

The man told officials he witnessed the boat head back over to the Mexican side of the river, the release states.

The investigation into this incident remains ongoing and officials have not named any suspects in Garza’s death.