Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

East Dallas artist shot, critically injured while jogging on Santa Fe Trail

Antonio “Tony” Lechuga. Photo courtesy of Cynthia Lechuga.

Antonio “Tony” Lechuga, an artist who lives in East Dallas, was shot and critically injured Friday while jogging on the Santa Fe Trail.

Lechuga, born in 1985, lives in East Dallas and often runs on that trail.

Dallas police officers responded to a shooting call near 4900 Santa Fe Ave. around 6:30 pm July 15. When they arrived, they found Lechuga with a gunshot wound, the police tell the Advocate. Lechuga’s sister Cynthia Lechuga says officers found multiple gun casings at the scene, but no cameras captured the crime.

The shooting occurred near where Jordan Perez, a 14-year-old JL Long Middle School student, was shot in June; Perez died of his injuries.

Lechuga was taken to a hospital, where doctors began emergency surgery when he arrived.

One bullet entered through his stomach and exited through his back, leaving a large hole. Another bullet hit Lechuga’s left kidney, missing his brain and spine. Doctors performed two surgeries in total.

As of publication, Lechuga had been taken off a ventilator, says Cynthia Lechuga, who set up a GoFundMe. He could communicate his pain level, which was high. He’ll remain in the ICU, and doctors expect him to stay in the hospital for at least a week while he recovers, she says.

Since 2021, Lechuga’s art has been focused on the border crisis. The Love Texas Art gallery in Fort Worth had an exhibition of his work, “Fences,” which was scheduled to end July 17. It “showcases sculptures 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,” according to the gallery’s description. “His vibrant and colorful new works reimagine the symbol of the fence, utilizing it in protest that focuses on unity and healing.”

Lechuga was also supposed to have a solo exhibit at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center in August, Cynthia Lechuga says, but that will be postponed.

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