Jury reaches verdict in trial of man accused of shooting at deputies during chase

Jury reaches verdict in trial of man accused of shooting at deputies during chase
Ricardo Pineda trial continues.

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Closing arguments have concluded, and the jury has reached a verdict in the trial for a man accused shooting at Smith County deputies. 

Ricardo Pineda has been found guilty of aggravated assault against a public servant.

Ricardo Pineda is accused of firing 12 rounds from a rifle at Smith County Sheriff's Office deputies. Pineda is charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer, after he allegedly fired at the deputies during a high-speed chase in March 2016.

On Thursday, the State and Defense presented their closing arguments. The Defense requested that the jury find Pineda guilty of a lesser charge of deadly conduct.

However, District Attorney Matt Bingham argues that a lesser charge would send the wrong message.

"We have to stand behind our police officers," says Bingham. "The twelve of you collectively speak for this whole community."

During court on Thursday, the State called Deputy Cory Cameron to the witness stand.

Cameron was the driver of the patrol car that Pineda is accused of shooting at. Cameron says felt he was "going to get hurt" during the period when Pineda fired shots at him.

Dash cam footage from the deputy's patrol car showed Cameron flashed his lights to get the car to pull over.  Also in the footage, the deputy is seen pulling over, because a bullet hit his radiator. Another deputy pulls up and Cameron can be heard saying, "go after them, he's still out there, be careful."

"I could see that there were rounds coming from both sides of the vehicle at the same time, whether they were front or back I don't know," Cameron stated.

On Wednesday during day two of the trial, testimonial immunity was requested for Jose Luna and Saul Flores. The motion requested that these men's testimony would not be used against them. Judge Jack Skeen granted the motion.

Jose Luna testified, saying he gave Pineda a ride to a hotel and rented him a room after the shooting incident. Luna also found Pineda's AR-15 wrapped in a camouflage coat in the back of his vehicle. Luna then put it in a trash bag and stored in at a friend's place.

Saul Flores, who is related to Pineda, also testified that he drove Pineda, his wife and their children to Arkansas where they planned to stay with Flore's brother.

According to Flores, Pineda originally told him he was being chased by someone because a car deal had gone bad. Pineda later to him that he was involved with a deputy shooting.

On the night of the incident, in March 2016, deputies spent hours watching Ricardo Pineda, Juan Quiroga, and Jeremy Robinson, who were suspected of illegal drug activity. Law enforcement then made an attempted traffic stop; but the car, the suspects were in, fled the scene.

Pineda reportedly shot a minimum of 12 rounds at deputies while riding in the passenger seat.  At least two rounds struck the deputy's patrol vehicle. A .233 caliber round struck the passenger side mirror and a 7.62-mm round struck the grill, passed through the radiator hose, and lodged into a metal rod underneath the steering column, which was inches from the deputy's body.

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