A man who pleaded to a lesser charge in a July 2017 deadly shooting during a drug deal at Lubbock's Wagner Park received a 15-year sentence Thursday morning.
Stephen Buckley, Jr. pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was initially arrested on a murder charge in the death of Jose Gomez, 23.
An arrest warrant showed Buckley and Gomez were fighting for control of a backpack in the park, which is in the middle of the Tech Terrace neighborhood. When Gomez wouldn't let go, Buckley shot him twice, then ran away with the backpack.
According to the warrant, a friend of Buckley told investigators Buckley recently came to town and needed help selling marijuana. He was arrested in Levelland.
Assistant Lubbock County District Attorney issued a statement: "There was potential for a Federal gun charge as well, and I very much appreciate the US Attorney's office allowing me to leverage those options in our case.
"It became apparent from the police investigation that Mr. Buckley was being robbed in relation to a drug transaction he was participating in at the time of the shooting. His judgment used in even being at such a transaction, as well as his use of a firearm with members of the community present, is indefensible. Today's result appropriately reflects the relevant legal defenses, as well as the community safety concerns that accompany these actions. Its terrible that this conduct can result in the loss of a young life and I'm very sorry for the family of Joe Gomez."