Surveillance video from Whataburger Field shows then Hooks player Danry Vasquez and his fiancée on Aug. 3, 2016. The Houston Astros, a parent club, later released him and he’s been let go by the Lancaster Barnstormers.
Former Corpus Christi Hooks player Danry Vasquez has been fired by a Pennsylvania team after a 2016 video showing him beating his fiancée was released.
Officials with the Lancaster Barnstormers, an independent league baseball team, told the Caller-Times the video has opened their eyes and that they will change their process when signing players.
Mike Reynolds, the Barnstormers’ general manager, said the club was not able to do research on the specific charges against Vasquez and hadn’t seen the video until it was publicly released on Tuesday.
“We didn’t do research within the police department for any records like that and this has definitely opened our eyes,” Reynolds said. “This has definitely opened our eyes and know we have to change our process when we are signing new players to our team.”
More: Judge refuses to drop restraining order against former Hooks player
Vasquez was signed by the team on Jan. 19 and was released on Tuesday. Reynolds said Vasquez had not been to Lancaster and never wore the team’s jersey. The team’s spring training was scheduled to start in early April.
Vasquez was part of the Houston Astros organization from 2013-16 and was released after the misdemeanor domestic violence charge in 2016. The Astros is a parent club for the Corpus Christi Hooks.
“We are glad that we were given the video and the video was made public,” Reynolds said. “Half our staff are females and many of us have wives and young daughters and we have a strong female fan base. This is not the type of guy we want on our roster representing Lancaster or the Barnstormers.
“It’s a disgusting video and unfortunately someone went through that. That last thing we need is that guy to be here in our community.”
While playing for the Hooks, Vasquez was arrested in August 2016 on a misdemeanor assault family violence charge. Corpus Christi police said video footage from Whataburger Field showed Vasquez backhanding his fiancée repeatedly in a stairwell.
The Hooks general manager alerted police to the incident after the surveillance footage was discovered. Staff had already been reviewing footage from a game night because an employee reported their vehicle had been struck.
While reviewing that footage Hooks staffer Jonathan Santana told team officials Vasquez had threatened to “end his life” that night because Vasquez was upset his fiancée had hugged and said hello to Santana, according to the police reports.
Santana reported he also had seen Vasquez take his fiancée into a stairwell.
Footage showed Vasquez taking his fiancée to the stairwell, hitting her several times, and then him leaving to talk with Santana before Vasquez returned to the stairwell a second time to hit her again. She fell to the floor. The couple then was seen on video leaving the parking lot in Vasquez’s car. As he pulled out of a parking space, his car struck another before he drove off, police reports show.
MORE: Behind Broken Doors series sheds light on domestic violence
Major League Baseball suspended Vasquez indefinitely shortly after his arrest.
Vasquez, 24, was also involved in a brawl during a July 2016 Hooks home game against the Frisco RoughRiders.
The Hooks’ outfielder charged the mound after deliberately being hit by a pitch in the thigh by Frisco’s Yohander Mendez. It cost Vasquez a three-day suspension.
“That shouldn’t happen. I’m not a fighter guy, I’m not here to fight,” Vasquez told the Caller-Times after the incident. “But you know that sometimes you have to take care of yourself and do those things for people to respect you.”
A Spanish language music video on YouTube posted in November 2017 seems to celebrate the couple’s courtship. Scenes shows Vasquez leading her onto a beach as he gets down on one knee and proposes as a crowd onlookers watch.
The title of the song translates to “Marry Me” and the video’s description says the pair first met while she was living in Mexico and he was playing baseball there. He later brought her to Venezuela and the U.S.
Vasquez is from Charallave, about 50 miles south of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.
The plea deal
Before he took a plea deal, Vasquez returned to his home country of Venezuela to play for a professional baseball team. At the time, his lawyer said his fiancée supported prosecutors’ offer to have the case dismissed if Vasquez signed a confession and completed a 24-week batterer’s intervention course. The agreement signed by his lawyer on his behalf though didn’t list the course as a requirement.
Court records show a violation report was filed in April 2017. It stated Vasquez failed to check in monthly with a pre-trial diversion program in-person, by mail or by email.
First Assistant Matt Manning said the violation report was a misunderstanding and that because Vasquez didn’t have a job anymore he had to return to Venezuela and wasn’t required to complete the batterer’s course. He was ordered to comply with MLB requirements but it’s unclear what those were. Manning also didn’t know details on what those may have been.
Manning added that Vasquez did ultimately complete his pre-trial diversion and that’s why the case was dismissed last week.
District Attorney Mark Gonzalez posted a video on Facebook Wednesday to explain how the case unfolded.
Gonzalez said the case was tough because Vasquez’s fiancée didn’t want him to be prosecuted and had her own lawyer.
“Domestic violence is a problem and we are committed to trying to make it better,” he wrote in the post.
After his arrest he was released and returned to Venezuela, where he played for Los Tiburones de la Guaira.
Antonio Jose Herrera, vice president and co owner of Tiburones de La Guaira in Venezuela, released a statement Thursday condemning Vasquez’s actions in the video.
“As an organization we would never allow these actions shown in this video from its players, staff or administration, at any of our properties and fields,” Herrera said.
Herrera added Vasquez has been heavily involved with charitable organizations since he’s returned to that country and has paid the price for his actions.
“We have a few ideas that we’ll talk about with Danry, including using his case as an example about what a person should never do to someone else, in order to teach children and the youth via workshops and trainings, which will also help him show his repentance and help prevent anything like this from happening again,” Herrera said.
Staff writers Natalia Contreras, Eleanor Dearman, Meagan Falcon and Len Hayward contributed to this report.
This is a developing story. Check back to Caller.com for updates.
Shelter: Contact The Purple Door, a nonprofit agency that offers free services to victims and survivors of family violence and sexual assault.
Hotlines: 1-800-580-4878 or 361-881-8888
Read or Share this story: http://callertim.es/2FHtPPI