Eric H. Rojas, 23, Amarillo, Texas, has pleaded guilty to federal firearms charges in connection with a shooting incident last year at a club in Garden City, Kan.
Rojas pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction and one count of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. In his plea, Rojas admitted that on Oct. 1, 2009, witnesses saw him fire numerous times into a crowd of people standing in a parking lot outside the Salon Primaveras Dance Hall at 3225 Prairie Ave., in Garden City, Kan.
Five people were leaving the dance hall when Rojas began firing. One was hit in the foot. The other four fled to a vehicle and got inside. As Rojas continued firing, bullets struck the windows and the body of the car. One of the bullets passed through the headrest of a seat where a victim was sitting. She was injured when shards of broken glass struck her face.
Investigators learned that Rojas was known to associate with the Azteca street gang in Garden City. One of the victims had been associated with a rival gang called Master Criminal Boy.
Rojas was arrested following the shooting when police were called to a disturbance in the 200 block of Washington in Garden City. He was found hiding under a mobile home. Police seized a .9mm handgun with the serial number obliterated. Rojas was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of a 2005 conviction in Finney County District Court on a charge of aggravated burglary and a conviction in Potter County District Court in Amarillo, Texas, on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Sentencing is set for June 28, 2010. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction, and a maximum penalty of three years and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
Welch commended the Garden City Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Sublet for their work on the case.