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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Texas

For Immediate Release

Thursday, April 4, 2019
Erin Nealy Cox
, United States Attorney
Contact: Erin Dooley

Amarillo Man Sentenced for Shooting at Wife at Public Middle School

An Amarillo man who shot at his wife during a youth football practice session was sentenced yesterday to 2 years and 9 months in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

Stephen Andrew Hale pleaded guilty to discharge of a firearm in a school zone in December 2018.

According to his plea documents, Mr. Hale – who was under a protective order at the time of the incident – confronted his wife at Horace Mann Middle School’s football field in August 2018.

As the argument escalated, he gave chase, shooting five rounds from his Ruger .357 magnum revolver in her direction. Though around 50 parents and children were present, no one was injured. When law enforcement arrested Mr. Hale shortly thereafter, officers discovered the firearm, loaded, in the front seat of his car.

“Anytime we can use federal firearm laws to stem the tide of violence against women, we will,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox.  “Randomly firing a weapon at a public school is unlawful, no matter who the intended victim – and the fact that Mr. Hale targeted his wife makes this incident all the more troubling. In fact, because of the protective order against him, Mr. Hale was prohibited from having a gun at all.”

Research shows that abusers with a gun in the home are five times more likely to kill their partners than abusers who don’t have that same access to a gun. The U.S. Attorney recently announced an initiative designed to fight domestic violence using existing federal firearm laws.

“Mr. Hale’s actions endangered the lives of his family and approximately 50 innocent people,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Division Jeffrey C. Boshek II.  “One instance of violent crime against an intimate partner or family member is one too many. Firearms do not belong in the hands of domestic violence offenders.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Amarillo Police Department, and the Potter County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Frausto prosecuted the case.

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Dallas Field Division