DALLAS — Dallas police Officer Rafael Mendoza has been arrested for the second time in nine months.
Mendoza, 34, now faces charges of driving while intoxicated and aggravated assault after he opened fire on traffic along Interstate 30 in Mesquite early Sunday morning.
Mesquite police said drivers spotted Mendoza holding a gun out of his car window while he drove eastbound on the highway near Big Town Boulevard around 2:40 a.m. Sunday.
Police said Mendoza fired at least once, hitting the trunk of a passing car.
A statement by Mesquite police said Mendoza was drunk, and that officers also found a “small amount” of marijuana in his car.
Mendoza, who was hired by the Dallas force in 2008, was also arrested in July 2011 on family violence charges for knocking a woman to the ground and handcuffing her.
Dallas police arrested Mendoza at his apartment on San Jacinto Boulevard and charged him with domestic assault and unlawful restraint. Police reports said Mendoza and the woman were arguing about an ex-girlfriend. The report said he then shoved the woman to the ground and put "flex cuffs" on her while telling her, "You are going to the pen for 10-15 years."
Neighbor David Leon remembered seeing the scuffle from his apartment window.
"He was just grabbing her, and she was screaming and stuff," Leon told WFAA, adding that he was "like grabbing her by the arm and shaking her."
Mendoza left the woman in the parking lot for about an hour before removing the plastic handcuffs, according to police documents.
WFAA was unable to get in contact with the woman.
At the time of the 2011 incident, Mendoza was placed on administrative leave, but it's unclear what happened to the internal investigation or the criminal charges. Dallas police would not clarify on Sunday, although it confirmed that he was currently an officer with the department when he was again arrested in Mesquite.
Mendoza remains at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, driving while intoxicated, and possession of marijuana under two ounces.