Odessa TX Aug 1 2017 A white Dodge Ram pickup sped down the road followed by a swarm of police vehicles, stirring a cloud of dust as a helicopter buzzed up above.
That’s the scene 12-year-old Sariya Ramirez described in her neighborhood Thursday morning after a man living down the street from her was arrested for aggravated robbery and evading arrest in a motor vehicle.
“He came down, he was going real fast and my mom told him to slow down, but like we didn’t know what was happening,” Ramirez said. “I was scared.”
Ramirez and several friends were helping out with a yard sale to help buy clothes for the new school year when they saw the pickup speed down the street. Ramirez said she saw the man look back, thinking that he was looking at the yard sale, but later realized he was looking back at police cars.
In addition to aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, and evading arrest in a motor vehicle, a third-degree felony, Hector Manuel Martinez Jr., 20, is also facing charges of theft of a firearm, a state jail felony, and unlawful carrying of a weapon, a Class A misdemeanor, after the Thursday morning incident that began at the eastside Walmart.
Odessa police responded to a call about a subject with a gun at Walmart, 4210 North JBS Parkway, around 5:08 a.m. Thursday. Once police arrived on scene they learned a man, later identified as Martinez, stole ammunition from the sporting goods section. When an employee confronted Martinez, he displayed a handgun and fired a round toward the ceiling before pointing the gun at the employee, according to an OPD news release.
OPD Spokesman Steve LeSueur said Martinez then fled the scene on foot and was last seen running southwest toward Albertsons. LeSueur said police then received information that allowed them to track Martinez.
Just before 11 a.m., officers were dispatched to the area of East Highway 191 and the Northeast Loop 338 to assist detectives on scene on locating a wanted person. That wanted person was Martinez, who had an active aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon warrant, a probable cause affidavit said.
Officers saw Martinez in a white Dodge Ram bearing Texas license plate JJJ4777 when they attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle near East 52nd Street and North Grandview Avenue. Martinez fled and police briefly lost a visual of him, according to the affidavit.
Officers tried to initiate a second traffic stop when they located him in the pickup near West 42nd Street and Golder Avenue. This time Martinez fled south on Golder Avenue and police saw him wave what appeared to be a firearm out of the driver’s side window, the affidavit said.
“He did threaten the officer, threatened suicide by cop…” LeSueur said during a press conference in the 2700 block of Madera Avenue where the pursuit ended.
The pursuit began in east Odessa, during which Martinez disregarded traffic control devices and reached speeds of up to 70 mph, LeSueur said. The pursuit ended when Martinez came to a stop in the driveway of 2804 Madera Ave., where neighbors said Martinez lived.
At that point, officers saw Martinez toss what appeared to be a gun out of the vehicle and was placed under arrest without incident, an affidavit said. Martinez exited the vehicle with his hands up, according to reports heard on the police scanner that LeSueur confirmed Thursday.
Officers located a black Smith and Wesson in the front yard of the residence where Martinez tossed it. A computer check on the handgun showed someone reported to the Odessa Police Department it had been stolen, the affidavit said.
While Ramirez said she’s “kind of relieved” that Martinez is now in custody, she said she’s still shaken.
“I was scared because I thought it was the guy from Walmart,” she said, adding that when she found out it was, she got frightened again because she knew he had a gun. “What if something happened?”
Ramirez said she’s never seen anything bad happen at the house, but the incident that took place in her neighborhood Thursday did scare her.
The motive of the ammunition robbery is still under investigation. LeSueur said Martinez is a former Walmart employee and the department will be taking extra precautions and increasing their presence at the eastside location.
“There were no reports of any injuries so we’re very pleased with the way it turned out,” LeSueur said.