EDCOUCH — A man here has been charged with two counts of deadly conduct after he allegedly threatened city workers who were attempting to retrieve a pair of dogs that had been captured in a humane trap Thursday.
Michael Ramon Martinez, 24, is charged with two counts of deadly conduct, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly brandishing a firearm at the two Edcouch public works employees who had come to collect the animals.
“He was … yelling profanity at the city workers. He was pointing the gun at them,” said Sgt. Juan Ramirez, an investigator with the Edcouch Police Department. “So the city workers did the right thing by calling the police department because at that time they were placed in fear (of) imminent bodily injury.”
According to police, the city received a complaint from a neighbor about loose dogs that were causing a nuisance. As a result, the public works staffers placed a humane trap at the residence, located on East State Highway 107, at approximately 11 a.m. Thursday.
Half an hour later, they returned to find two dogs trapped inside. As they prepared to load the dogs into their vehicle for transport to an animal shelter in Weslaco, Martinez allegedly approached them and yelled profanities.
Martinez approached the cage and set the dogs loose over the objections of the city workers, who warned him he may be cited for tampering with city property, police said.
“The dogs ran behind the house and that’s when he … gets into the vehicle, grabs a firearm and comes back. And he stood 15 feet away from the cage and was pointing the gun at the city workers,” Ramirez said.
The two workers were wearing uniforms with high-visibility markings and a city logo clearly visible, Ramirez said. They were also traveling in a marked city of Edcouch vehicle.
Martinez allegedly pointed a .45 caliber 1911-style handgun at the two city workers while continuing to shout profanities at them.
Ramirez responded to the scene when the workers called police. There, he was able to de-escalate the situation and take Martinez into custody, he said.
Martinez made his initial appearance before Edcouch Municipal Judge Orlando Jorge “O.J.” Villarreal just after 4 p.m. Thursday.
Villarreal assessed a $5,000 cash or surety bond for each of the two charges and thanked Martinez — a former U.S. Marine — for his military service.
Edcouch City Manager Victor Hugo de la Cruz said the two public works employees were left shaken by the incident, with at least one of them leaving work for the day in order to recover.
De la Cruz and the police sergeant urged residents to follow the city’s leash laws to help mitigate any problems as the city attempts to deal with a growing stray dog problem.
“We’re just trying to take care of the problem with the stray dogs. And I advise people, if they have dogs, to keep them on a leash. If not, they’re gonna get picked up,” Ramirez said.