John Colson

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October 23, 2013
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Carbondale man seriously wounded after allegedly being shot by friend

CARBONDALE — An Englewood man accused of shooting and seriously wounding a Carbondale man earlier this month will be in court on Oct. 23 to face charges of felony assault and other crimes.

Carmello Jose Cruz, 43, of Englewood was arrested in Glenwood Springs in the early morning hours of Oct. 13, after he allegedly shot a friend of his, Rocky Mendoza of Carbondale. Cruz has been charged with second degree assault with a gun and illegal discharge of a firearm, both felonies.

The incident reportedly occurred while the two were drinking in a shed outside of Mendoza’s trailer at a mobile home park at 98 Garfield Ave., space 14, on the east side of Carbondale.

According to court documents, the two men, along with Mendoza’s nephew, Enrique, had been drinking for some time in the shed when Cruz pulled out a pistol that the three had been “playing with” earlier in the evening, as described by the nephew.

Cruz fired the pistol twice, and then was told by Enrique that Mendoza had been hit by one of the shots.

Both Mendoza and his nephew urged Cruz to run, according to an affidavit filed with the Ninth Judicial District Court, and as he clambered over a nearby fence Cruz is alleged to have tossed the pistol away. It was not clear from the court documents whether the pistol was found by authorities.

Because the mobile home park is in Garfield County, just outside the Carbondale municipal boundary, it was handled by a mix of sheriff’s deputies and Carbondale police. Among the information reported in the affidavit were indications that Cruz had been getting high on cocaine that day, as well as drinking.

A deputy reported learning over his radio, some time after 12:30 a.m., that Cruz had been picked up by police in Glenwood Springs and was in custody, while Mendoza was rushed by ambulance to Valley View Hospital and immediately underwent emergency surgery.

The affidavit reported that Cruz had a blood alcohol content level of .177, well over the legal limit for driving a vehicle, and that he told Enrique and police that he had not meant to shoot Mendoza, and merely wanted to hear how the gun sounded when fired.

And a police search of the home next to the shed where the shooting occurred, and of the shed itself, allegedly turned up small amounts of cocaine and a box of .45 caliber cartridges that were believed to be a match for the type of pistol Cruz allegedly fired.

Cruz is being held in the Garfield County Jail in lieu of $6,300 bond, and is to appear before Judge James Boyd on Wednesday afternoon.

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The VailDaily Updated Oct 22, 2013 12:53PM Published Nov 21, 2013 04:18PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.