Ranchos man shoots neighbor during backyard dispute

By John Miller
Posted 12/31/18

A Ranchos de Taos man admitted to shooting another man with a 12-gauge shotgun during an argument in his backyard late Sunday night (Dec. 30), according to the Taos County Sheriff's Office.


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Ranchos man shoots neighbor during backyard dispute


A Ranchos de Taos man admitted to shooting his neighbor with a 12-gauge shotgun during an argument in his backyard late Sunday night (Dec. 30), according to a report from the Taos County Sheriff's Office.

Cleofas Dominguez-Armendariz, 52, said he shot Javier Munoz-Rivera as the man held the gun's barrel against his body and challenged Dominguez-Armendariz to pull the trigger, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in Taos Magistrate Court early Monday morning (Dec. 31).

Dominguez-Armendariz was arrested on one count of battery with a deadly weapon this morning and has been booked on the charge at the Taos County Adult Detention Center.

According to an update from Undersheriff Steve Miera, Munoz-Rivera underwent surgery at Holy Cross Hospital Monday morning and is now in stable condition.

Dominguez-Armendariz agreed to meet with Deputy Jake Cordova at the sheriff's office after 3 a.m. Monday morning to explain why he had shot Munoz-Rivera. He said that he and his family were sleeping at their home on Camino de Corazon when the man knocked loudly on his backdoor.

He said Munoz-Rivera was standing in his backyard, "challenging him," and at one point displayed a handgun. That's when Dominguez-Armendariz said he got dressed, grabbed his loaded shotgun from inside his doorway and went out to meet Munoz-Rivera.

The 52-year-old said the altercation became physical when Munoz-Rivera gripped the barrel of the shotgun, held it against him and started "banging" on his chest. Dominguez-Armendariz said when Munoz-Rivera "lunged at him in an aggressive manner," he pulled the trigger, with the force of the shot causing Munoz-Rivera to drop to the ground.

Dominguez-Armendariz said he then helped load his victim into a vehicle belonging to Ramona Montoya, who had driven Munoz-Rivera to his residence late Sunday night and was still waiting in the driveway.

At the hospital, Montoya told Deputy Cordova she thought"someone had banged on her car" when the shot was fired at the residence Sunday night.

She said Dominguez-Rivera and another man came out carrying Munoz-Rivera, who told her that he had been shot.

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

While at the residence, Cordova interviewed Dominguez-Armendariz's girlfriend, who said her boyfriend had shot Munoz-Rivera using the shotgun found in her home.


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