Antonio “Tony” Lechuga, an Oak Cliff artist, was shot and seriously injured while running along the Santa Fe Trail near Old East Dallas Work Yard Park. The artist announced the incident through an Instagram post on Thursday.
The Dallas Police Department received a 911 call at approximately 6:30 p.m. on July 15, prompting it to send officers to the 4900 block of Santa Fe Avenue, where the Santa Fe Trail crosses Fitzhugh Avenue.
Police found Lechuga with multiple gunshot wounds but no identification. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment and has since had two surgeries.
Lechuga’s sister Cynthia Lechuga says multiple gun casings were found at the scene, suggesting multiple shots were fired. There was no video evidence of the shooting.
As reported by the Oak Cliff Advocate, Lechuga suffered wounds to his stomach, back, and a kidney. The bullet which pierced his stomach ultimately exited through his back, while another hit his left kidney.
Lechuga’s sister said her brother had been placed on a ventilator as a result of his injuries but has since been taken off of it. He was placed in the hospital’s intensive care unit as he recovered from his injuries, but doctors expected him to recover shortly.
Cynthia Lechuga created a GoFundMe page for her brother to assist him in his recovery.
Born in 1985, Anthony Lechuga is an artist from East Dallas whose recent work has focused on immigration-related issues. In particular, the Love Texas Art Gallery has hosted his work “Fences” in an exhibit initially scheduled to end on July 17 but now extended to July 31.
Since 2021, Lechuga’s works, including “Fences,” have commented on the ongoing border crises. The Love Texas Art Gallery says his exhibit “showcases sculpture and paintings that depict the architectural fence pattern, transforming and using the fence structure as a metaphor to discuss immigration issues along the Mexican-American border.”
More of his artwork was to be hosted at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center in August, but that exhibition has now been postponed.
Lechuga’s sister said her brother regularly ran Dallas’ Santa Fe Trail.
“It’s sad because now his normal is not normal anymore, you know? It just doesn’t make you feel safe anywhere,” she said.
In an Instagram post he made later, Lechuga himself described what happened to him as being “like someone knocked the wind out of [him] or hit [him] in the stomach with a bat.”
He said he did not think he would see any of his loved ones again.
“I thought I was going to die right there,” he said.
Dallas police have not revealed whether they have a suspect in this case and have made no arrests in connection with it. Some area residents have alleged that the gunshots which hit Lechuga came from a vehicle, but police have not yet announced whether or not they have confirmed that detail.
The police investigation remains ongoing.