An off-duty Temple Police Department corporal consumed alcohol before he was arrested and charged Tuesday for allegedly firing his weapon during a law-enforcement gathering in El Paso, officials said.
Cpl. Kenneth Lee Sheka, 28, is charged with deadly conduct/discharge of firearm, a third-degree felony, in connection with the incident at a hospitality event associated with the 2015 Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas convention. The convention is being held this week at the El Paso Marriott.
El Paso Police Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said Sheka made “crude remarks” of a sexual nature and inappropriately touched a female server at the adjacent Chase Suites Hotel, 6791 Montana Ave. The woman rebuked the corporal’s advances, told him not to touch her again and walked away, escorted by a man, when Sheka pulled out a pistol and fired one round into a wall, Carrillo said.
Sheka was immediately subdued by other police officers in the hotel conference room. Alcohol was being served to convention attendees during the hospitality event, Carrillo said.
“It was full of officers,” Carrillo said. “Our officers were at the event and responded immediately.”
The corporal consumed “some kind of alcohol” at the gathering, Carrillo said.
Sheka was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility with bond set at $2,500. It was not known whether he remained in jail by press time Wednesday.
His jail photo was not immediately released by El Paso Police, although the department generally posts many mug shots online. A police report about the incident also was not immediately released.
Temple Police learned of Sheka’s arrest on Wednesday.
Cpl. Christopher M. Wilcox, public information officer for the Temple Police Department, said the El Paso department will conduct a criminal investigation and forward its findings to the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution.
Meanwhile, Temple Police will conduct an internal investigation through the department’s Professional Standards Unit.
“We expect our officers to adhere to our code of conduct,” Wilcox said. “We expect our officers to be professional and courteous, on or off duty, whether they’re in uniform or not.”
Temple Police standards include gun usage and training against sexual harassment, Wilcox said.
Carrillo said it is not usual for police officers to remain armed at private functions such as the CLEAT convention.
Sheka was attending the CLEAT convention on his own time and at his own expense, Wilcox said. He was not representing the Temple Police Department at the event, Wilcox said.
Generally during internal investigations, a Temple Police officer will be placed on administrative leave with pay while a concurrent criminal investigation is pending, Wilcox said. After the criminal investigation is complete, the department has the option of putting an officer on administrative leave without pay or other disciplinary actions, he said.
Sheka, upon his return from El Paso, is ordered to meet with Temple Interim Police Chief Jim Tobin about potential disciplinary measures, Wilcox said.
“We’ve always been transparent in cases like this,” Wilcox said. “We wanted to make sure our citizens are informed.”