Ballinger man facing possible death penalty after new charge filed in San Angelo homicide

Alana Edgin
San Angelo Standard-Times

SAN ANGELO A Ballinger man charged in a San Angelo 2021 homicide could face the death penalty in connection to the shooting death of Daniel Chandler, according to an indictment released Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.

An indictment, filed Jan. 6, charged Cody Salazar with capital murder, enhanced to a habitual offender status. It stated he caused Chandler's death by "shooting (him) with a firearm ... in the course of committing or attempting ... robbery."

The enhancement comes from Salazar's prior convictions in 2019 for accident involving injury and 2013 for engaging in organized criminal activity. A court date has been tentatively scheduled for February, according to online court records.

What led to Daniel Chandler's death?

About 1:16 a.m. June 28, 2021, police arrived to a shooting at Inn of the Conchos, 2021 N. Bryant Blvd. In one of the rooms, officers found Chandler lying on the floor with gunshot wounds to his chest and abdomen. His shirt was "soaked in blood," and "numerous" used cartridge cases were on the floor, according to court documents.

Police interviewed several witnesses, one of whom was a woman who rented the room for the night. She said she told Salazar she would be staying there, and he and Garcia came by. Another man and a woman also arrived at the room, records state.

The women told officers Salazar told everyone to leave the room "because he had some business he had to take care of." The other man said he had left the room to smoke before he heard "muffled gunshots," according to the arrest affidavit.

Investigators believe after the two women and man left the room, Chandler, a woman who identified herself as his girlfriend to police, and another man entered the room. The woman told officers they had gone to the motel "to purchase some marijuana," according to court documents.

The man who entered the room with Chandler and the woman told officers the woman had contacted him, asking to purchase "an amount of narcotics." He used social media to contact another woman to arrange a transaction.

When they entered the motel room, Joshua Garcia closed the door and pulled out a gun. He told them to "give (him) all their money and bags," records state. Salazar also pulled out a gun, and Chandler attempted to draw a gun as well and was shot, according to the woman.

Garcia then grabbed the woman's bags and the man's money and narcotics, then fled with Salazar. The woman tried to stop the bleeding, then ran to the office to call for emergency assistance, according to the affidavit.

The woman who was contacted about arranging a deal told officers she drove Salazar to another woman's residence. The resident told officers Garcia, who was known as "The Kid" or "J," had been living at her residence for three months, according to an arrest affidavit.

At the residence, Salazar said he "had to go get some money from someone who owed him." He asked the resident if he could use her pickup, and she didn't want him to, so Garcia offered to drive the pickup, records state.

The two left and after the shooting, Garcia told the resident they went to a motel room and "someone died," according to court documents.

At the time of the shooting, Garcia was wanted by Lubbock police.

According to Lubbock court documents, on Jan. 18, 2021, Lubbock police arrived to a vehicle burglary call, which became a chase on 45th Street. Garcia was a passenger in the vehicle and shot at pursuing officers. No officers were injured, but a patrol car was disabled. The vehicle with Garcia and an unknown driver was found abandoned on 36th Street, according to court documents.

Following the investigation, law enforcement found Salazar at the Shoppin' Basket, 610 Hutchins Ave., in Ballinger on July 5. They subsequently charged him with murder, in addition to going off bond for credit or debit card abuse, possession of marijuana and evading arrest detention.

On July 12, 2021, Garcia was charged on suspicion of murder, after being arrested in Lubbock in connection to shooting at officers.