Accused H-E-B shooter to raise insanity defense

Raul Lopez Saenz

The defense attorney for a 28-year-old Mission man accused of opening fire and killing a coworker inside a Palmview H-E-B in late 2016 announced he will pursue an insanity defense.

O. Rene Flores filed the notice on Oct. 8 on behalf of Raul Lopez Saenz, who is accused of murder, three counts of criminal attempted murder and a count of attempted capital murder of multiple persons after the Nov. 28, 2016, shooting inside the grocery store at Goodwin Road and U.S. Expressway 83.

Lopez, who had worked at the H-E-B for a few years before the shooting, is accused of walking up to four square, dark-tinted windows at the store and firing 15 shots from a 9mm handgun, striking and killing 48-year-old Mario Pulido and injuring 37-year-old Rafael Ramirez-Martinez, 51-year-old Frailan Garza and 33-year-old Billy Joe Martinez, according to police.

Lopez had been performing inventory early that morning when he clocked out, left the store, then returned and parked his truck in front of the store before walking up to the windows and opening fire, authorities have said.

Lopez, who called 9-1-1, confessed, telling investigators that “everyone was out to get him,” former Palmview Police Chief Christopher Barrera said at the time.

The man apparently told investigators that he believed the window was bulletproof and that no one was hurt, Barrera had said.

The former chief also said that Lopez appeared to be “paranoid.”

At his arraignment after his indictment, Lopez told former state District Judge Rudy Delgado that he had been declared mentally incompetent and Flores, the defense attorney, said he was receiving medication at the Hidalgo County jail.

Lopez remains in the jail on $1.9 million in bonds and is scheduled for a jury trial early next month.