Investigation into Fatal Shooting at Illegal Gambling Establishment Ongoing
LOS FRESNOS – The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office addressed the circumstances surrounding an aggravated robbery of an illegal gambling establishment for the first time Tuesday.
Deputies responded to a call of shots fired in rural Edinburg early Saturday morning.
They arrived at what officials describe as a "game room" at the intersection Texas and Alamo in rural Edinburg.
"When our deputies arrived at the scene they observed two deceased males," said Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra.
The deceased males were 19 and 15 years old. The third suspect remains unidentified. Officials say he stands about 5'7'' tall, weighs about 170 pounds and was last seen wearing a white shirt and blue jeans.
Guerra told CHANNEL 5 NEWS the aggravated robbery escalated into a kidnapping situation when one of the suspects approached a man with a shotgun.
The victim's wife notified the on-duty security guard.
"A masked male subject was seen walking toward the building armed with a shotgun, standing behind the male victim," said Guerra. "The security guard fatally shot the armed suspects and saw a third suspect fled the scene on foot."
The security guard has been identified as 44-year-old Antonio Nieto. Guerra claims Nieto holds a license as an armed security officer.
Nieto is not facing charges at this time. Investigators are still working to determine if his use of lethal force was justified.
Nieto was working on behalf of a company called Border Security and Investigations.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS visited the company's listed location in Los Fresnos. Our crews didn't travel onto the property due to the company's "no trespassing" signs.
We spoke to one of the company's owners, James Allen Chambers, on the phone. He told us his company was hired legally and provided services according to their contract with the game room owner.
He said his company had no knowledge of the illegal nature of the gambling establishment. Chambers declined an interview.
"This is an on-going investigation. We'll be talking with the owner of the security company; we'll be subpoenaing his records, who was the contact, and all that," said Guerra.
Sheriffs have been called out to the same location for illegal game room activities twice before.
Right now, investigators are still working to determine who owns the property.
Guerra adds his office has busted 22 illegal gambling establishments and made 113 related arrests in the past two years.
Anyone with tips, in this case, is encouraged to call the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office at 956-383-8114.