Ran­chos man re­leased with­out bond af­ter shoot­ing neigh­bor

The Taos News - - COPS, CRIME, COURTS - By John Miller [email protected]­news.com

Taos Mag­is­trate Court Judge Jeff Shan­non ruled on Wed­nes­day (Jan. 2) to re­lease a Ran­chos de Taos man who told law en­force­ment he shot his neigh­bor at point-blank range with a shot­gun in Ran­chos de Taos Sun­day night (Dec. 30).

Shan­non re­leased Cle­o­fas Domínguez-Ar­men­daríz, 52, who faces one count of ag­gra­vated bat­tery with a deadly weapon, a third-de­gree felony, on his per­sonal re­cog­ni­zance, fore­go­ing the set­ting of a bond that might en­cour­age the man’s ap­pear­ance at fu­ture court dates.

In an in­ter­view with Taos County Sher­iff’s Deputy Jake Cor­dova early Mon­day morn­ing, Domínguez-Ar­men­daríz said he shot Javier Muñoz-Rivera as the man held the gun’s bar­rel against his body and chal­lenged Domínguez-Ar­men­daríz to pull the trig­ger.

Muñoz-Rivera un­der­went surgery at Holy Cross Hospi­tal in the hours fol­low­ing the shoot­ing and is now in sta­ble con­di­tion, ac­cord­ing to Un­der­sh­er­iff Steve Miera.

Domínguez-Ar­men­daríz agreed to meet with Deputy Cor­dova at the sher­iff’s of­fice af­ter 3 a.m. Mon­day morn­ing to ex­plain why he had shot Muñoz-Rivera.

He said that he and his fam­ily were sleep­ing at their home on Camino de Co­razón when the man knocked loudly on his back­door.

Domínguez-Ar­men­daríz said Muñoz-Rivera was stand­ing in his back­yard, “chal­leng­ing him,” and at one point dis­played a hand­gun. That’s when the 52-year-old said he got dressed, grabbed a loaded shot­gun from in­side his door­way and went out to meet the man in his yard.

He said the al­ter­ca­tion be­came phys­i­cal when Muñoz-Rivera gripped the bar­rel of the shot­gun, held the muz­zle against his body and started “bang­ing” on his chest. Domínguez-Ar­men­daríz said he pulled the trig­ger when Muñoz-Rivera then “lunged at him in an ag­gres­sive man­ner,” with the force of the shot caus­ing Muñoz-Rivera to drop to the ground.

Domínguez-Ar­men­daríz then helped load his vic­tim into a ve­hi­cle be­long­ing to Ra­mona Mon­toya, who had driven Muñoz-Rivera to his res­i­dence late Sun­day night and was still wait­ing in the drive­way.

At the hospi­tal, Mon­toya told Deputy Cór­dova she thought “some­one had banged on her car” when she heard a loud bang in the area, not re­al­iz­ing the shoot­ing had taken place un­til Muñoz-Rivera told her he had been shot as two men, in­clud­ing Dominguez-Ar­men­daríz, loaded him into her car.

Deputies, New Mex­ico State Po­lice and Taos Po­lice Depart­ment worked to iden­tify the home where the shoot­ing took place and cleared the res­i­dence. In­side, Cór­dova said he lo­cated the shot­gun in a bed­room, along with a .22-cal­iber pis­tol.

While at the res­i­dence, Cór­dova in­ter­viewed the shooter’s girl­friend, who said Dominguez-Ar­men­daríz had shot Muñoz-Rivera us­ing the shot­gun found in her home.

Court records showed that Domínguez-Ar­men­daríz picked up a mis­de­meanor traf­fic vi­o­la­tion case in 2012, and an­other this year, in Novem­ber, but there was no in­di­ca­tion of prior felonies in his record.

A pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing has been set for Feb. 13.

Cour­tesy Taos County Adult De­ten­tion Cen­ter

Cle­o­fas Domínguez-Ar­men­daríz ad­mit­ted to shoot­ing his neigh­bor with a shot­gun late Sun­day night (Dec. 30) on Camino de Co­razón in Ran­chos de Taos, ac­cord­ing to the Taos County Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

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