By Matt Kyle | Staff Writer
The Waco Police Department is currently asking witnesses to come forward with any videos of a fight that led to a fatal shooting last week outside the Warehouse Bar on Austin Avenue in downtown Waco.
Last Saturday, at around 1:45 a.m., officers responded to a shots fired call at the Warehouse. Waco PD spokesperson Cierra Shipley said a fight began between two men inside the Warehouse. The fight moved outside, and at least one individual began shooting and hit two men.
One of the men was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries, while the other, Jose Martinez-Medina, 30, suffered fatal injuries as a result of the shooting, according to a police press release. Shipley said Martinez-Medina was not involved in the fight.
Later that morning, Ryan Trejo, 24, was arrested and charged with murder in connection with the shooting, making the case Waco’s sixth murder of 2022.
While Shipley said it is still early in the year and thus difficult to see how the numbers will match up to other years, she said the high number so far in 2022 as well as the large amount of gun violence in Waco led the department to speak out about gun violence.
“Being the sixth murder of the year — we had 17 last year — that’s something that we don’t like to see; that’s something we know, being the first three months of the year, is quite a high number,” Shipley said. “We saw how many families were hurt last year, and we wanted to get out in front of it, to let the community know that we have a gun problem here in Waco and that we need the community’s help to come forward in an instance like this.”
Shipley said multiple people witnessed the fight and shooting, and some recorded the events leading up to the shooting. Waco PD is asking for people to send the videos to the anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline at 254-753-4357 so the department can determine how the fight escalated into a shooting. Tips can result in a reward of up to $2,000.
AJ Smith, Crime Stoppers coordinator for Waco PD, said the department typically sees about one to two anonymous reports per day through the hotline. Since the Crime Stoppers program launched in 1981, 2,845 arrests have been made and 3,918 cases have been cleared resulting from anonymously submitted tips.
Smith said the local community can play a big role in helping Waco PD solve crimes.
“Crime Stoppers wouldn’t exist if the community didn’t submit tips and provide information to us,” Smith said. “A lot of us live in the community, but we’re not there 24/7 to see what’s happening. We try to roll through on patrol, but if we miss something or somebody sees us coming and stops what they’re doing, they’re not going to stop because they see their neighbor usually. So the neighbor can be a good witness and let us know something’s happening.”
Smith also said upward of 80% of rewards for anonymous tips nationwide go unclaimed. He said anonymity allows the community to be more willing to report crimes. Smith also said Crime Stoppers can be used to submit tips about any crimes, not just high-profile cases.
“Deep down, I think our community truly wants to live in a better place, and they don’t really want to be rewarded for doing the right thing,” Smith said. “Crime Stoppers is an avenue for people that just want to anonymously report things that then get looked into. And those people don’t ever want a reward for what they’re reporting to us. It just gives them a way to let the police know, ‘Hey, this is going on in my neighborhood.’”