Arlington Man Killed by Random Gunfire

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Family and family of an Arlington man killed in his apartment by random gunfire say they worry the suspect will go free.

    On Aug. 21, Arlington police arrested ex-con Thomas Ramirez Jr., 27, on suspicion of firing his gun as he drove around his neighborhood in an SUV.

    Random Shooting Leaves Man Dead

    [DFW] Random Shooting Leaves Man Dead
    Ivan Valenzuela, 33, was killed by random gunfire Aug. 21 at his apartment in Arlington. (Published Monday, Aug 29, 2011)

    "Luckily we have neighbors and witnesses that immediately called police and we were able to quickly apprehend him," Sgt. Christopher Cook said.

    The next day Ivan Valenzuela, 33, was found shot to death in his apartment in the 700 block of Oakwood at Sanford.

    His father went looking for him after Valenzuela failed to make visit scheduled the day before.

    "Unfortunately, when his father went inside the apartment, he located his son deceased, near a window," Cook said.

    It turns out Ramirez was out of jail on $5,000 bond this month for a June 22 indictment on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity.

    Ramirez has a long criminal history, including Tarrant County convictions for burglary of a habitat, burglary of a vehicle, theft and assault, as well as arrests in other Texas counties.

    "It's very upsetting that he was running around shooting and he had just been let out on bail. He was given a small bail,” said a longtime friend of the victim’s family.

    She said her children grew up with Valenzeula in Arlington.

    "This was a tragedy," she said. "This was intolerable, you know. It's a heart breaker."

    Valenzuela worked as an electrician, but the family friend said he was much more to the people who loved him.

    "We'll never have another Ivan," she said. "He was very unique, an artist, full of potential, philosopher, a humorist. He had so many talents, and everyone knew him. He never met anyone that didn’t love him I think."

    Now friends and relatives of the victim worry Ramirez will be released from jail again.

    Valenzuela's closest relatives decline to talk on the record about their grief for fear Ramirez or his friends may harm them.

    But police and prosecutors say they are working to see that Ramirez does not get out of jail anytime soon.

    His bond was revoked for the organized criminal activity case after the Aug. 21 arrest for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. He is currently being held without bond.

    Bond was set at just $3,000 for the firearms charge. Melody McDonald, a spokeswoman for Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon, said the DA is not satisfied with that.

    "The District Attorney's Office believes that the $3,000 bond is too low for a second-degree felony offense and will seek an increase in the bond,” she said.

    McDonald said the case is still under investigation, and additional charges may be filed.

    An Arlington police press release said detectives have already presented charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, evading arrest and unlawful possession of a controlled substance for the Aug. 21 case, but McDonald said those additional charges have not been filed in court.

    "Our detectives are relentlessly pursuing the leads in the case and building the case against him," Cook said.

    The family friend said Valenzuela's relatives and friends would watch the Ramirez case.

    "He needs to be in prison," she said. "There's nothing that can replace what he did."

    Ramirez is scheduled to appear in court before Judge Robb Catalono on Tuesday at 10:30 am in Tarrant County Criminal District Court No. 3.