Texas man charged for firearm in Alva bar


January 17, 2021

A Texas man ran into trouble when he brought a gun into an Alva business where alcohol is served.

According to court documents on Dec. 4 at approximately 10:21 p.m., Alva Police Officer Kaleb Keplinger was notified by Woods County E-911 Dispatch regarding a man with a gun in the Bull Smokehouse and Saloon. He arrived and spoke with Bull owner Courtney Nesseralla and a bar patron Randy Novotny who were standing outside. He was told there had been a fight earlier between parties who had since left. Officer Blake Trekell of the NWOSU campus police and Alva Police Officer William Shahan arrived to assist.

Novotny told Keplinger he had gone to use the restroom earlier. While there a Hispanic male made references to the earlier fight. Novotny observed him brandishing a silver and pearl-gripped pistol from his right front pocket while telling people he had the gun if someone wanted to mess with him. Novotny said he left the restroom and told Nesseralla to call the police.

Novotny and Nesseralla gave a description of the man as wearing a beanie on his head with a cigarette pack stuck in it and a white long sleeved shirt. Keplinger entered the bar and observed a man matching that description on the south side of the bar by the pool tables. He approached from the side and grabbed the man’s left arm while Trekell grabbed his right arm. The officers escorted the man from the bar to Keplinger’s vehicle where he was detained. Keplinger performed a pat down and observed the outline of what appeared to be a firearm in his front right pocket.

The firearm was a Raven Arms silver and pearl-gripped .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun with five rounds in the magazine and none in the chamber. Keplinger had dispatch run it and was told it had not been reported stolen.

Hector De La Cruz was identified from his Texas ID card. Keplinger confirmed through dispatch that he did not possess a valid handgun license in Oklahoma. While talking to De La Cruz, Keplinger observed the odor of an intoxicating beverage emitting from his person along with red bloodshot watery eyes and slurred speech. He later talked with bar staff who said De La Cruz and the guys he was with were trying to start trouble. Bar staff trespassed all parties from the premises.

Keplinger told De La Cruz he was under arrest. He was told by De La Cruz’s brother-in-law that the firearm was his wife’s. Keplinger transported De La Cruz to the Woods County Jail where he was booked.

On Dec. 23, Hector De La Cruz, 30, of Brownsville, Texas, was charged with carrying a firearm while under the influence, a misdemeanor.

On Jan. 8, he was charged in Woods County with carrying a weapon where alcohol is served, a felony. This crime is punishable by up to two years of incarceration and/or up to a $10,000 fine.


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