Daniel Mendoza

Daniel Mendoza

Goliad sheriff’s officials say the man they arrested on a capital murder charge was also responsible for a drive-by shooting last month.

About 9:20 p.m. June 12, Daniel Mendoza, 18, was responsible for firing at least one round of birdshot into a trailer at 2205 Al Calde De La Bahia Road that was occupied by Nathan Cortinas, 20; Brianna Bexley, 18, and their infant son, said Capt. John Pape, Goliad County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators interviewed witnesses and recovered a shotgun wadding that smelled of gunpowder, leading them to think it had been recently fired, Pape said. Although the bird shot did not directly impact anyone in the trailer, Pape said the gunshot shattered glass in the trailer that cut Bexley’s forearm.

As of Wednesday, Mendoza remained in the county jail in lieu of a $250,000 bond for a capital murder charge for Cortinas’ death.

On June 13, Mendoza fired seven shots from a small-caliber revolver into a car parked at South Mt. Auburn and West Franklin streets in Goliad that contained Cortinas, Bexley and their son. Cortinas was killed, and Bexley was severely injured by a single gunshot wound that lodged a bullet in her spine. Their son was uninjured.

Bexley has since returned home with her baby and is recovering, said her grandmother Alma Bexley.

“She still has a long way to recovery,” said the grandmother.

Both shootings were related to an ongoing dispute between Cortinas and Mendoza, said Pape, adding he was unsure what their disagreement was about.

Although Mendoza was not arrested until hours after Cortinas’ death, investigators have since connected him to the shooting of the family’s trailer.

Pape said he anticipated charges for Mendoza for the trailer shooting and injuries to Bexley.

Jon Wilcox reports on courts for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached jwilcox@vicad.com or 361-580-6515.

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Jon covers crime, public safety and the courts at the Victoria Advocate. Born in Huntsville, Ala., he grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism at Texas State University.

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