For Immediate Release
New Year’s Gunshot that Killed Child Fired by Man Illegally in U.S.
HUNTSVILLE – The man whose celebratory New Year’s 2017 gunfire killed a five-year-old child in Athens, Ala., pleaded guilty today in federal court to illegally possessing the gun because he was in the United States illegally. Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Steven L. Gerido and ICE Homeland Security Investigations Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge James Hernandez announced the plea.
FIDEL RODRIGUEZ-CANCHOLA, 34, of Mexico, pled guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Abdul K. Kallon to one count of possessing a firearm by an illegal alien. His sentencing is scheduled Oct. 12.
According to Rodriguez-Canchola’s plea, he celebrated New Year’s in the early morning hours of Jan. 1 by firing a Harrington & Richardson 900 .22-caliber revolver into the air outside his Athens residence. One of the rounds he fired struck a fire-year-old who died shortly after.
When Limestone County Sheriff’s deputies found Rodriguez-Canchola a few hours later, he admitted to firing the weapon but “insisted that he had not seen the child until she fell,” according to his plea agreement.
Rodriguez-Canchola was a native and citizen of Mexico, unlawfully present in the United States at the time of the shooting, according to his plea.
The maximum penalty for possessing a firearm by a prohibited person is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
ATF, Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI and the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa K. Atwood is prosecuting.