Teen jailed for fatal shooting now accused of battering inmate

Alejandra David Gasca - Submitted photo

A local teen jailed for capital murder and other charges stemming from an April 17 shooting that killed a 4-year-old girl and injured a local man is facing an additional felony battery charge for allegedly attacking another inmate.

Alejandro David Gasca, 19, has remained in custody on a $2 million bond since his arrest the day of the shooting at 127 Carson St., which was his listed address. He was served with a warrant Aug. 10 on a charge of second-degree battery, punishable by up to six years in prison, for the alleged July 15 attack of a fellow inmate with the charge filed in Garland County Circuit Court on Sept. 21 and an arraignment set for Oct. 3.

Gasca could face the death penalty or life without parole on the capital murder charge for the shooting death of the 4-year-old girl and up to 20 years in prison on a charge of first-degree battery for the shooting of Rosendo Lucio, 30, in the Carson Street incident. He is also charged with three counts of terroristic act and first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor.

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges on Sept. 7 and is set for an omnibus hearing Oct. 30 on the admissibility of statements he made to Hot Springs police after his arrest. He was initially only charged with first-degree murder and first-degree battery, but Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Lawrence told The Sentinel-Record the day after the shooting, "We're going to sit down and look at the facts of the case and may file additional charges and modify or upgrade other charges."

According to the probable cause affidavit on the new battery charge, on July 15, shortly after noon, Garland County sheriff's Deputy Brayden Watson, a housing unit supervisor at the detention center, walked over to two of the cells to let the occupants out for their designated hours.

Gasca was housed in one of the cells and another inmate, 46, was in the other cell. About five minutes later, Watson heard a "loud commotion" coming from the day room where the cells were located and reportedly returned to see Gasca running back to his cell and the other inmate lying on the floor.

Watson called for assistance and other deputies arrived and escorted the second inmate to the medical unit and he was later transported by LifeNet to CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs for treatment of non life-threatening injuries.

Upon reviewing surveillance video in the housing unit, it was reportedly determined Gasca was the aggressor. Gasca and the other inmate had exited their cells and the other inmate was watching television. Gasca could be seen walking behind him and then punching him. The inmate fell to the floor and Gasca allegedly continued to punch him and then proceeded to kick him several times in the head before punching him a few more times.

The affidavit did not indicate a motive for the attack, which was investigated and a warrant issued on July 24.

According to the affidavit on the shooting, police had responded to a shots fired call at the Carson Street residence at 2:17 p.m. on April 17 and found two victims, Lucio and the juvenile, with gunshot wounds. Both were transported to a local hospital where the girl was later pronounced dead.

A male neighbor told police he heard the gunshots and entered the house to find the victims. He said Lucio told him "Alex" had shot him. A male witness, 29, who lived at the residence, and a female witness, 38, of Hot Springs, told police they were present at the residence and heard Lucio and "Alex" arguing.

At the time of the argument, the only other people in the residence were Lucio, "Alex," the 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old girl. During the argument, both witnesses heard several gunshots and fled the area through a back door, the affidavit said.

After further investigation, "Alex" was identified as Gasca and a warrant for his arrest was issued. Gasca was taken into custody around 9:15 p.m. that same day at a residence in the 500 block of Brady Mountain Cutoff.

After being read his rights, Gasca allegedly admitted to the shooting. He described an altercation with Lucio in the living room of 127 Carson Street. Gasca said the two juveniles were present and during the argument, he walked out of the residence via the front door.

As Gasca was near to the bottom of the steps leading away from the residence, Lucio opened the door, continuing the argument with Gasca, who says he retrieved a firearm from his waist and opened fire on Lucio, who was standing within arms reach of the 2-year-old.

Gasca reportedly described seeing both juveniles throughout the argument with Lucio. Gasca asked detectives which juvenile had been struck and that he had heard someone had died. Upon hearing it was the 4-year-old, he reportedly said he thought it would be the 2-year-old due to how close she was to Lucio.

Gasca said he fled and discarded his firearm, a 9-mm, near the Hot Springs Creek Greenway Trail as he was running. Police located the firearm, which reportedly had one bullet in the chamber and five loaded in the magazine, which can hold a total of 15 rounds.

Police had located 11 spent 9-mm casings on the ground near where Gasca said he had been standing while firing the handgun. There were reportedly more than 11 "bullet-sized impacts" near the front door where both Lucio and the juveniles were standing.