‘I watched him take his last breath’: Officer, gang investigators testify in day 5 of Barfly trial

Crime

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – An officer who responded to Barfly on the night of the deadly 2017 shooting testified in court on Thursday, along with two gang investigators.

As KTSM previously reported, Moises Galvan is accused of shooting and killing Rogelio “RJ” Franco, 22, and wounding David Ortega outside the East El Paso bar.

Officer Heather Ponce testified that she and her partner were the first to arrive at the scene.

“When my partner and I arrived, we got flagged down by several bouncers who pointed to a body laying on the floor,” she explained.

The officer testified that there were three people attending to Franco at the scene.

“I watched him take his last breath and roll back his eyes,” she remembered. “It’s something I will never forget.”

Ponce said she saw five bullet casings on the ground and immediately guarded them using cups.

The officer testified that she removed an individual from the back of an off-duty patrol car and placed bags over his hands to preserve evidence, namely gunshot residue.

As KTSM reported, Deputy Nick Gomez was working off-duty when he chased, tased, and detained Galvan.

Ponce said he ended up falling asleep in the back of the patrol car before he woke up and began asking what was going on.

“I don’t know what the hell is going on, I don’t know what’s happening, it’s f—— hot in here, I’m f——scared,” Galvan could be heard saying on police car camera footage shown in the courtroom.

The officer told the defense that Galvan appeared to have been having a panic attack. She said she had the fire department assess his mental state.

“He was removed from the car twice, the first time to have him seen by fire medical the second to take photos,” she explained.

Two gang investigators were later called to testify after the defense used social media images to accuse Franco of being in a gang.

Defense attorneys showed photos of him holding hand signs they believed to be gang-related. 

Gang Investigator Michael Balderrama was the next witness to take the stand. 

Balderrama examined a tattoo on Franco’s leg depicting the phrase, “Wood Boys”, which he says started as a group of Montwood party boys and later became a street gang.

The investigator told prosecutors that Franco had not belonged to the gang, according to his report.

“He did no criminal activities that we’re aware of,” Balderrama said.

A second gang investigator, Robert Ontiveros Jr., also testified.

Ontiveros, an expert on the Barrio Azteca gang, said Franco also did not meet any criteria to belong to that gang, either.

As KTSM reported, Galvan is charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon. 

The trial will resume in the 168th District Court at 12:30 p.m. on Friday.

Stay with KTSM.com for more details as the trial unfolds.

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