Murder suspect pleads out on lesser charge for Wagner Park shooting


Image of Stephen Buckley, Jr. from Lubbock Co. Detention Center

LUBBOCK, Texas — Stephen Joseph Buckley, Jr., 31, who was previously charged with murder, accepted a plea deal on Thursday morning for aggravated assault. As part of the deal, he was sentenced to 15 years in state prison.

Buckley, age 29 at the time, was charged by Lubbock Police for the July 2017 shooting death of Jose Luis Gomez, 23, in Wagner Park.

Eyewitnesses told police that Gomez was shot three or four times. Gomez and Buckley argued over possession of a backpack before shots were fired.

By the time police arrived, witnesses were doing CPR on Gomez. He was taken by EMS to a Lubbock hospital where he was pronounced dead. Buckley was arrested later in Levelland.

Prosecutors said Buckley was claiming to be the target of a robbery set up, and there was concern he could raise the issue of self-defense at trial. However, prosecutors insisted on a prison sentence because he in a situation where violence might occur in a public park.

Related Story: Buckley Indicted for Murder in Wagner Park

CORRECTION: The spelling of Stephen Joseph Buckley’s name has been corrected.

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