Beeville Police Department Chief Joe Treviño said José Parra was taken into custody in connection with a shooting incident earlier Monday.
Treviño said Patrolman Jonell Cisneros stopped Parra shortly after being sent to the intersection of Buchanan and Inez streets on the east side of town in reference to gunshots.
Witnesses said the shots apparently were fired from a black hatchback vehicle which sped from the scene.
As officers searched the area, several females on North St. Mary’s Street flagged down Cisneros to tell him that they had seen the vehicle.
The officer then found the car parked in the lot outside of Scores, a sports bar on St. Mary’s Street.
Cisneros made contact with two males as Patrolman Salvador Sanchez arrived at the scene. The men were told to put up their hands. Immediately, the officers realized that Parra had been drinking.
The officers asked Parra if he had a gun in the car, and Parra said he did. Inside, on the floorboard, the officers found a .45-caliber, semi-automatic pistol with the hammer locked back and a magazine lying next to it.
Sgt. Chris Bernal and Patrolman John Berry arrived at the scene, and they called out Detective Sgt. Art Gamez.
Then the officers gave Parra a field sobriety test and placed him under arrest for driving while intoxicated.
Treviño said the men denied shooting the gun at first, but Parra later admitted that he had been shooting at signs in the city.
Both men said they were working in the nearby oil field and were staying at a local motel.
The suspect was taken to the Bee County Jail and booked on charges of deadly conduct, discharging a firearm and DWI.
The DWI charge is a Class B misdemeanor, but the deadly conduct charge is a third degree felony.
If convicted, Parra could face a 10-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
Justice of the Peace Raul Casarez set bonds at $1,000 on the felony charge and at $750 on the misdemeanor.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.