Update: State Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez, D-Weslaco, was released from the hospital Monday afternoon.
Original Story: RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KGBT) – After suffering a bullet wound to the head, state Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez said he’s recovering from surgery and expects to return home Tuesday.
A stray bullet – apparently fired by someone celebrating the new year – struck Martinez moments after midnight Sunday, when he was celebrating New Year’s Eve with family.
The bullet went through Martinez’s skull, but didn’t cause any brain damage.
“Truly the hand of God, you know,” said Martinez, a Democrat who represents the mid-Valley.
Doctors at Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco transferred him to Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, where surgeons removed the bullet fragment.
The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting.
“We have reason to believe that he was hit by a bullet that was fired into the air,” according to a statement released by Sgt. J.P. Rodriguez, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. “The investigation [is] ongoing and the state rep is in stable condition.”
Martinez said he spent New Year’s Eve with family and friends. They heard shooting in the run-up to midnight, prompting everyone to seek shelter in the garage.
After the shooting subsided, they eventually went back out.
Martinez supervised the kids, who were popping fireworks at midnight.
His wife walked up at midnight and kissed him, Martinez said.
“Right after she gave me that kiss, I just kind of moved to a little to the right and just felt like a sledgehammer hit me on the head,” Martinez said.
They realized he’d been struck by a bullet and rushed him to the emergency room.
“I just keep thinking about the kids,” Martinez said. “There were two of our friend’s kids who were standing right behind me. My wife was right next to me. Had I pulled her closer, she could have gotten shot in the face or the neck. It was just one of those things, you know. Fortunately it happened this way.”