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Habitual Offender Sentenced to Life for Shooting AK-47 at Police During Stand-off

November 1, 2021

A Houston man has been sentenced to life in prison and a $10,000 fine for firing a semi-automatic AK-47 style rifle at police during a stand-off at a northwest Houston motel, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Monday.

“This man risked the lives of police officers and innocent bystanders by firing dozens of shots,” Ogg said. “He has a history of committing violent and dangerous criminal acts and we thank the Harris County jurors who sentenced him to prison for life.” Oliver Quantanilla Martinez, 44, was sentenced to life in prison and a $10,000 fine for shooting more than 70 rounds at police in a late-night stand-off on July 14, 2016. Houston Police officers were called to the scene in response to a kidnapping / hostage taking in-progress call at the Baron Inn at 4823 West 34th St. at about 2 a.m.

The caller advised police that a man inside one of the rooms was holding a woman against her will.  When officers knocked on the door to the room, Martinez fired several shots through the door using a semi-automatic rifle. When the officers retreated and took cover, Martinez barricaded himself inside the room and ignored repeated commands to surrender. HPD SWAT officers arrived and began negotiating with Martinez.  During negotiations, more shots were fired at the officers from inside the motel room.  He eventually released the female hostage unharmed. The woman was a known acquaintance, but her relationship to Martinez remains unclear. Authorities were unable to locate her for the trial and she did not testify.  SWAT officers then fired tear gas into the room, and after Martinez fired another volley of rounds, he eventually surrendered. Police found the semi-automatic AK-47 assault rifle and a 9mm pistol. Shell casings recovered at the scene showed that Martinez fired more than 70 times. He was charged with aggravated assault against a public servant and felon in possession of a weapon.

Assistant District Attorney Mario Cicconetti, who prosecuted the case with ADA Steven Belt, said jurors in the four-day trial were able to consider the fact that Martinez is a habitual offender when they deliberated punishment. The defendant was sentenced Friday. “The jury gave him life in prison and a $10,000 fine,” Cicconetti said. “They were sending a message to the public that we are not going to stand for this type of violent behavior.” Cicconetti noted that any of the bullets could have hit a police officer or an innocent bystander in the surrounding residential areas. “He made over 70 attempts to kill police officers with an AK-47. Those rounds are as long as an index finger,” the prosecutor said. “If he had killed any of those officers, it would have been capital murder.”