Texas state Republican: I’d ‘shoot’ Dem colleague ‘in self defense’

Texas state Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) said Monday he would “shoot” a Democratic colleague “in self defense” after he said Rep. Alfonso Poncho Nevárez (D-Eagle Pas) threatened him. 

“Today, Representative Poncho Nevarez threatened my life on the House floor after I called [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] on several illegal immigrants who held signs in the gallery which said, ‘I am illegal and here to stay,’” he wrote Monday on Facebook. “Several Democrats encouraged the protestors to disobey law enforcement.” 

“When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero [Jr.] [D-Fort Worth] physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues,” Rinaldi continued. “During that time, Poncho told me that he would ‘get me on the way to my car.’

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“I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, ‘get me,’ I would shoot him in self defense. I am currently under DPS protection.”

Romero responded at a press conference and in a tweet, saying, "Claims of assault are completely baseless."

The Texas Tribune on Monday reported that Rinaldi and several Democrats exchanged angry words on the state House floor. 

The exchange reportedly occurred during a large protest against Texas’s new sanctuary city law that disrupted the last day of the state Legislature’s regular season.

Several members said that Rinaldi told a group of Hispanic lawmakers that he had called ICE officials on the protesters.

“He came up to us and said, ‘I’m glad I just called ICE to have all these people deported,’ ” state Rep. Cesar Blanco (D-El Paso) told the Tribune.

Romero told The Austin American-Statesman that Rinaldi “felt like he needed to call ICE” despite Texas Department of Public Safety officers removing protesters from House galleries.

Protesters were demonstrating against S.B. 4, a controversial law Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into existence earlier this month.

The law says cities and counties must cooperate with federal immigration authorities that request law enforcement agencies to detain people suspected of being undocumented.