Shooting victim feared for his life, cops say
Vail, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Police believe the man shot and killed in West Glenwood Springs Monday night told his mother he was afraid for his life and planned to move back to Mexico this week.
“My uncle, my uncle,” Ricardo Navarrete-Prudencio said in Spanish as he was dying, according to eyewitness accounts that were included in an arrest affidavit. “Ouch, it hurts. My uncle, my uncle did this to me.”
Navarrete-Prudencio, 20, was pronounced dead at Valley View Hospital after being shot four times at the Ponderosa Cabins. After an investigation headed by Glenwood Springs Police detectives, Navarrete-Prudencio’s uncle, Jesus Hernandez, 33, was arrested Tuesday night by Mesa County authorities on suspicion of first-degree murder and felony menacing.
According to an affidavit for an arrest warrant, Navarrete-Prudencio’s family members told detectives he had been living with his uncle in Florida a few months ago. Hernandez discovered Navarrete-Prudencio had an affair with his wife and threatened to kill Navarrete-Prudencio.
Navarrete-Prudencio moved to Colorado to get away from his uncle, the affidavit says. His possessions in his cabin appeared packed for his planned move to Mexico because he was still afraid of his uncle, according to the affidavit.
Police heard from some family members by receiving a call on Navarrete-Prudencio’s cell phone.
Co-workers also told detectives that Navarrete-Prudencio said his uncle had threatened him in the past regarding his uncle’s girlfriend or wife, the affidavit says.
On Monday night, witnesses at the Ponderosa Cabins told detectives they heard arguing, three gunshots, a pause, then a fourth shot. One person said they saw a Hispanic male flee north through the property with a gun in his right hand.
An autopsy revealed that Navarrete-Prudencio was shot four times with a .40 caliber weapon ” once in the femur and twice in the abdomen. The fourth shot was a “rapidly fatal” shot that pierced his liver and lung while he was lying on his back, the affidavit says.
Detectives discovered Hernandez had been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in Florida in 2004. That also stemmed from an incident involving a girlfriend. Hernandez allegedly shot at a man and hit him in the arm while driving. He was also arrested in Grand Junction for fraud and driving violations, the affidavit says.
The June 18 Grand Junction arrest record listed a Clifton address for Hernandez.
According to a search warrant for the address, Mesa County Sheriff’s Deputies determined a male fitting Hernandez’ description lived there. They said he sold a 1984 Chevrolet S10 truck Tuesday morning to a neighbor, which matched the description of the vehicle he was driving during the Grand Junction arrest, the warrant says.
Mesa County SWAT team members entered the duplex at 3249 Lucile St., in Clifton, around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Residents of the unit ” a couple and two young children ” declined to speak to a reporter Wednesday morning.
A neighbor said SWAT officers fired an unknown projectile through a window at the back of the home.
Mesa County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Norma Mestas confirmed officers fired OC gas, or pepper spray, inside the home. Mestas said about 35 officers were part of the operation.
The same neighbor said Hernandez had been staying there just over one month.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubinstein said Hernandez was scheduled to be transported from the Mesa County Jail to Garfield County for his first court appearance there on Thursday.
District Attorney Martin Beeson said he couldn’t disclose the immigration status of either the dead man or the murder suspect.
Grand Junction Free Press reporter Paul Shockley contributed to this story.