Prosecutor: Man assaulted police while escaping warrants

Prosecutor: Man assaulted police while escaping warrants

Carlos Martinez, 34, accused of aggravated assault against a peace officer. (May 14, 2019) Carlos Martinez, 34, accused of aggravated assault against a peace officer. (May 14, 2019)
LUBBOCK, Texas -

During opening statements Tuesday, prosecutors said a man accused of using an SUV to hurt three Lubbock police officers was trying to escape his arrest for unrelated warrants at the time. Carlos Martinez, 34, is accused of aggravated assault of a peace officer with a deadly weapon, for an incident in April 2017.

Assistant District Attorney Traci Bowman told jurors Martinez was living with his girlfriend and her kids at the Del Estrado Townhomes near 62nd and Indiana at the time. His girlfriend was evicted, and Martinez was picking up some of her things with a writ of possession. Bowman said the apartment complex called the police to remove Martinez for criminal trespass, but when the officers ran his identity, they discovered he had warrants out for his arrest.

Bowman said officers asked Martinez to get out of the car, but he instead started the vehicle and sped off, ramming one of the police Tahoes behind him before speeding forward. Bowman said Martinez nearly ran over an officer in the process, then was on the run for a day before he was taken into custody.

Martinez's defense attorney, Michael LeMond, told jurors his client's story was only as exciting as news reports made it out to be; he said the jury will see "everything that happened," and asked jurors to pay attention to motives and why "some people say certain things." LeMond said Martinez made bad choices, but he is not guilty of the crime he's accused of.

The prosecution's first witness was the property manager at Del Estrado Townhomes. The witness told jurors Martinez was not on the lease, but was picking up his girlfriend's property on the day of the incident. The manager testified there was a struggle after the officers identified Martinez, and it looked like an officer had his foot in the car when Martinez sped away in the car. The witness said an officer took a child from the vehicle before Martinez took off in it, and witnessed the SUV ram the police Tahoe. The manager said that's when officers started firing at Martinez's vehicle, while the SUV headed directly for an officer lying on the ground. The witness said the officer was able to get up and safely move out of the way.

During the defense's cross-examination, the property manager testified the writ of possession was issued the day before the incident, and Martinez should not have been on the property.

The officers that were hurt in the incident were treated and released from the hospital the same day, while Martinez escaped capture. It took three law enforcement agencies, a helicopter, canines, officers on horseback, citizens and business owners to track him down. A neighbor near 73rd and Joliet spotted Martinez and called 911 the next day. He was arrested without incident.

Martinez remains in jail on $300,000 bond. 

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