Abilene Police: Arrest made in BB gun shooting spree, other culprits sought

Abilene Police: Arrest made in BB gun shooting spree, other culprits sought

ABILENE, Texas - Authorities have made an arrest in a five-day November BB gun spree that allegedly involved shooting 51 vehicles and five commercial buildings, while causing at least $23,000 in damage, Abilene police said a news conference Friday.

Police identified the alleged culprit as being Emilio Jacob Santibanez, 18, of Abilene. He was arrested Wednesday on state jail felony criminal mischief. He faces up to two years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. His bail was set at $15,000.

Officials said the $23,000 damage estimate is conservative because all victims haven't gotten assessments.

"He (Santibanez) said he did it for the excitement. Well, I hope he is excited about his new accommodations in the Taylor County Jail where he belongs," Police Chief Stan Standridge said.

Meanwhile, Abilene police are asking for help in identifying those involved in a January BB gun shooting spree resulting in 32 confirmed victims.

Tim Smith, owner of Firehouse Fitness, said his business was targeted and damages amount to approximately $1,500; however, it is not the monetary damage that has him concerned. 

"They hit our building while we had a class going on," Smith said. "The garage door was raised and they shot the BB's in the direction of the people. It was dark outside --our building room was clearly lit -- they could clearly see that they were aiming in the direction of people."

Police have questioned three juveniles and an adult in relation to the case and the BB gun involved has been seized.

"We are optimistic that persons will be arrested...these senseless crimes must stop," Standridge said.  

Standridge said authorities will seek the maximum prosecution. The hope is any other victims will come forward so the appropriate charges can be tied to perpetrators.

Police are asking if anyone sees one of the crimes in progress, that they will call 911 with a good vehicle description and a license plate identification if possible, Standridge said.

The incidents have been reported across Abilene and have involved windows either being shot out with a BB gun or otherwise broken out.

Victims have included Abilene High School, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut on South 14th Street and Papa Johns on North 1st Street, among others.

Anonymous tips can be reported to Abilene Crime Stoppers at (325) 676-TIPS.

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