Edward Galindo, 18, went all out when he decided to commit his first crime.
Apparently drunk and despondent because his girlfriend just broke up with him, Galindo left his Omaha hotel, walked a couple miles and ended up at a business he had no business targeting.
Galindo — who was in Omaha on a construction job — used a parking sign to break into Custom Computing Corporation near 108th Avenue and West Dodge Road.
He then spent the next 90 minutes destroying almost everything he could get his hands on. He smashed computer monitors, vases, coffee mugs. He fired at least five shots — shooting out computers, desks, light fixtures and a vending machine. Change from the machine and a few snacks were the only things he ended up taking.
He tried to set papers on fire in the office of Steve White, president of Custom Computing.
When two cleaning women arrived about 11:30 p.m., he pointed a gun at them, took their cellphones and ordered them into a bathroom. Once his destruction was done — officials estimated the damage at more than $20,000 — he returned the women’s phones and told them not to call 911 until he had gotten away.
Before the Sept. 25 spree, Galindo had no record other than petty theft for shoplifting fireworks from a stand.
A perplexed Douglas County District Judge Gary Randall sentenced Galindo this week to two to five years in prison — a term that is cut in half under state law. Galindo had faced up to 57 years in prison after pleading no contest to burglary, two counts of false imprisonment and criminal mischief. With credit for nine months served, Galindo will be eligible for parole in about three months.
Trying to explain her client’s jump into the deep end of despair and destruction, Assistant Public Defender Natalie Andrews told the judge: “It’s a little bit difficult for me to determine where to begin.”
“Me, too,” Randall said.
Andrews said her client had a father who wasn’t in his life and a stepfather who got deported. From the age of 14, he worked harder than any teen Andrews has ever seen. First at an Olive Garden. Then as a roofer for his mother’s company. Then in construction, traveling to cities like Omaha — all to help support his family.
That night, despondent over a breakup, Galindo drank and swallowed pills, Andrews said. He told the judge that he had no recollection of his actions after he left his hotel.
“I remember before everything happened, I was taking some pills while I was drinking,” Galindo wrote to the judge. “I honestly can’t remember much after that. Everything after that sort of felt like a nightmare.
“I regret every moment of it. I can’t imagine how scared those ladies were. I hope that one day they can forgive me for what happened.”
Judge Randall said he initially had stacked all of Galindo’s sentences — which would have effectively doubled his time in prison. He said he changed his mind and ran them concurrently after listening to Andrews, hearing Galindo’s remorse and seeing three rows of his courtroom packed with Galindo’s family and friends.
Andrews credited prosecutor Eric Wells for having mercy and dropping a weapon use charge that would have guaranteed that Galindo serve a minimum of five years.
“I know I’m representing Mr. Galindo in court for what was the worst day of his life — and for what will forever be the worst day of his life,” Andrews said. “He is a good young man who made a very serious error in judgment. This day does not define him.”