At least Rafael Rubi is a bad shot. That's the best that can be said after Rubi, a 24-year-old Dallas resident, pleaded guilty last week to participating in four separate drive-by shootings over a two-month span in Dallas during the spring of 2018.
Tuesday, federal officials announced that they'd tied Rubi to the four shootings through the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms' National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. The network allows for the automated connection of shell casings to guns, speeding up the evidentiary process.
Rubi gave the feds a lot to work with. According to court documents, police found 119 shell casings at the sites of the four shootings. Despite the 10 dozen shots fired, no one was hit during any of the shootings.
“Every gun tells a story. In this case, the use of NIBIN capture and comparison technology revealed the connection between the firearms seized from Mr. Rubi and several violent crimes committed in the Dallas area," ATF Dallas Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Boshek II said.
Rubi's drive-by spree began on Feb. 11, 2018. Early that morning, he sprayed a house and several cars on Nolte Drive with bullets, but the story behind the shooting begins several months earlier.
In July 2017, a man, unnamed in court documents, and Rubi's girlfriend, Alexis Ortiz, got into a car wreck. Rubi traveled to the site of the accident and demanded that the man pay him for damage caused by the accident. The man refused and that was that until September 2017.
That month, Rubi and Ortiz showed up at a garage sale being put on by the man and his family. Rubi yelled at the man and his family, demanding that they pay him or else.
The February 2018 shooting victims are relatives of the man who got into the car wreck with Ortiz.
A month later, in March 2018, Rubi shot up another house. This time, one of the occupants of the home had been involved in a fight with Ortiz.
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On April 13, 2018, Rubi drove by a house on Salerno Drive and shot at it, attempting to hit the man who'd been in the 2017 crash with Ortiz, to no avail. Four days later, Rubi participated in another drive-by, this time on South Moore Street. The feds didn't identify a motive for this shooting, but Rubi texted one of the people inside the house after the shooting, saying "GANG shit" and "I'm not play play."
Following the last shooting, Dallas police recovered a Glock .45 pistol from Rubi's Mustang during a traffic stop. The next day, they searched his apartment and found a Glock 9 mm pistol in the toilet tank, in addition to heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. Police and federal agents used the ballistics network to tie both guns to the shootings.
“Intelligence gleaned from ATF’s ballistic database helped get a violent criminal off the streets,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said. “We are proud to partner with ATF to use every investigative tool at our disposal — from shrewd agents to sophisticated technology — to track criminals wielding unlawful firearms against our communities.”
Rubi faces five years to life in federal prison for possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He'll be sentenced in December.