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Lawmaker hit by bullet recovers after New Year’s incident

Staff and wire reports

State Rep. Armando Martinez is recovering after being struck in the head during a new year’s celebration by what he suspects was celebratory gunfire.
State Rep. Armando Martinez is recovering after being struck in the head during a new year’s celebration by what he suspects was celebratory gunfire. Getty Images/iStockphoto

A state lawmaker says he is recovering after being struck in the head during a New Year’s Eve celebration by what he suspects was celebratory gunfire.

State Rep. Armando Martinez told The Monitor newspaper that he had gathered with his family late Saturday at a residence near the South Texas town of Weslaco.

Moments after hugging his wife, just after midnight, as the new year arrived, Martinez says he felt like he was hit with a sledgehammer to the back of the head.

It was discovered that he’d been shot and he later underwent surgery to have the bullet removed.

“Before, the Valley wasn’t as populated as it is now, and growing up you used to hear gunshots many times,” Martinez told The Monitor. “But you can’t do that now because somebody’s going to end up getting hurt.

“Unfortunately, last night it was me who got hurt,” he told the newspaper. “The fact that my family and friends were there and that they could’ve also gotten hurt pushes me to help put a stop to this. Right now, the important thing is that I’m alive … God blessed me.”

The bullet was given to the Hidalgo County sheriff’s office, which is investigating the matter.

Gunfire in Dallas-Fort Worth

Closer to home, the Dallas Police Department reports it received 711 calls about gunfire in four hours, ending around 2 a.m. Sunday. Another 282 calls were about illegal fireworks.

CBS 11 asked Fort Worth Police how many gunfire calls it had received, and a spokesperson said too many to count.

Jerry Serrano, who lives in northwest Fort Worth, told the station he was celebrating the new year when a friend noticed a hole in his shirt. After closer inspection, Serrano realized he had been hit in the shoulder by a stray bullet.

“He told me, too, you know what, you’re just a couple of inches from your head. Now your head’s a different story. It hits your head, your brain could be sensitive, and it could do something to it,” Serrano told the station.

Those who are caught celebrating with gunfire risk a $4,000 fine and could spend up to a year in jail.

New Year's Eve was one of the busiest nights for law enforcement. The Dallas Police Department reports it received more than 900 calls about gunfire last year, and it had 711 calls about gunfire in four hours this weekend.

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