A 31-year-old man with a lengthy criminal history is in jail again, accused in the fatal shooting of another man inside an after-hours club on Jacksboro Highway early Sunday.
Rick S. Soto, who also goes by the last name of Smith, was arrested Tuesday on a murder warrant after reporting to an appointment at the probation department, police said.
He is accused in the slaying of Ernesto Vasquez, 32, who was shot inside the Siin Lounge at 2104 Jacksboro Highway and later died at an area hospital. Investigators believe the shooting was gang-related.
Soto was being held in the Mansfield Jail with bail set at $150,000.
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Homicide Sgt. Joe Loughman said several people were inside the club when the shooting occurred.
“There was a verbal dispute inside of the bar which quickly escalated into a shooting,” he said.
Two other men who had been standing near Vasquez were wounded in the shooting. Loughman said it remained unclear Wednesday whether Soto was behind their shooting as well.
“There were multiple guns fired,” Loughman said. “We do not know who any of the shooters are at this time other than Soto.”
Investigators obtained a murder warrant for Soto after witnesses identified him as Vasquez’s shooter. Loughman said it is unknown if Soto had known Vasquez.
Additional arrests are expected in the case, Loughman said.
Tarrant County court records show Soto has a dozen convictions dating back to 2001 on charges that include assault with bodily injury, possession of a controlled substance, evading arrest and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
He was free on bond on more recent charges of criminal mischief and assault with bodily injury when he was picked up on a new charge in March of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, court records show.
His bond was ruled insufficient but was later reinstated, and he was released from jail again, court records show.
Since the slaying, his bond on the five pending cases has once again been found insufficient and warrants issued for his arrest, records show.