New details emerge in ex-Border Patrol agent shooting case

EDINBURG — A court hearing Monday for a former Border Patrol agent accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend while holding their 1-year-old child revealed that the alleged attack took place during the first child custody drop-off.

Ricardo Cepeda Jr., 33, was in court trying to get his $1.05 million bond reduced when Assistant District Attorney Michelle Puig revealed the new detail to the court.

The hearing, which featured testimony from the man’s father, Ricardo Cepeda Sr., a former McAllen police officer, and the man’s friend, Alejandro Silva, a Border Patrol agent, also included allegations that Border Patrol Internal Affairs had been investigating Cepeda for alcohol-related incidents, including one at Stilettos Cabaret, a strip club.

Edinburg police arrested Cepeda on March 3 after responding to reports that 34-year-old Edinburg resident Brenda Hernandez had been found inside a vehicle with gunshot wounds to her back and upper torso outside a residence at 3322 Zoe St.

Puig, the prosecutor, said during the hearing that Cepeda fired eight times into Hernandez’s vehicle, striking her twice.

“It was the first custody drop off,” Puig told state District Judge Keno Vasquez, who said he wanted more information about the court-ordered child custody agreement between Cepeda and Hernandez.

Cepeda entered not guilty pleas to charges of aggravated assault against a family member, attempted murder, abandoning a child without intent to return and abandoning or endangering child with criminal negligence.

During the cross examination of Silva, his friend, who has volunteered to supervise the man, Puig asked whether he was aware of a Border Patrol Internal Affairs investigation into Cepeda.

He wasn’t. Cepeda’s father has also volunteered to supervise his son.

Puig didn’t provide many details about the incident at Stilettos Cabaret, other than saying that Border Patrol found Cepeda’s actions to be offensive and that he is aggressive with the inability to tell the truth.

Cepeda was intoxicated during the incident, according to Puig.

The prosecutor also said Border Patrol Internal Affairs investigated him for a DWI case and brought in a Border Patrol Internal Affairs memo with her that was about a half-inch thick. She said Border Patrol found that Cepeda lacked candor and displayed conduct unbecoming of an officer.

Puig also said investigators found threats against another woman’s life on Cepeda’s phone.

As for the bond reduction, O. Rene Flores, one of Cepeda’s attorneys, said the man’s been in jail for 278 days and has the presumption of innocence.

Flores brought in the man’s father and friend to have them testify that they would supervise Cepeda and report any violations of his supervised release.

The defense attorney asked Vasquez, the judge, to reduce Cepeda’s bond to $60,000.

Puig, the prosecutor, was adamantly opposed to a bond reduction.

“We believe he is a complete danger and threat to the victim and will kill her if he gets out,” Puig said.

Vasquez didn’t make a ruling Monday, saying he needed more information from the family about the collateral available to them that could be used to post bond.