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Break-in Ends in Deadly Shooting

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The city of Española had its first fatal shooting of the year Aug. 8 when a homeowner shot an armed intruder.

Darell Padilla, 31, of Española was transported to the hospital where he later died.

Española Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Jeremy Apodaca said the incident was first reported to 911 dispatchers at approximately 3:45 a.m.

Natasha Decosta reported to police someone was trying to break into her apartment at the Vista del Rio Apartments on Avenida Cañada.

“Someone is trying to break into an apartment, she advised they are pounding on the door, kicking the door trying to get in,” dispatch logs state. “There are two guys who don’t live there and they are saying they are from (FBI High Intensity Drug Task Force) Region Three. She doesn’t think they are cops.”

The men who were trying to get into the apartment were not law enforcement, Apodaca said, although they did identify themselves that way to Decosta and other tenants.

Apodaca said Padilla was armed with a black pellet gun, and that he had taped a laser pointer to the end of the weapon.

Alex Lucero, who lived at the apartment, was armed, and tried to stop Padilla from  coming inside, Apodaca said.

“(Padilla) kicked the door open, that’s when the tenant saw the barrel of the gun come through the door,” Apodaca said. “The tenant announced several times that he was armed, and that’s when the offender went into the living room, just stepping through the doorway and being that he was armed, the tenant protected himself with his own weapon.”

Apodaca said it was later that officers discovered Padilla only carried a pellet gun.

After the shooting, Lucero tried to help stop Padilla’s bleeding using a makeshift tourniquet, Apodaca said.

Padilla told officers there had been another man with him, but Apodaca said he was unsure if Padilla had provided the other suspect’s name before being transported to the hospital.

Lucero is not expected to face any charges.

“You do have the right to protect yourself and your family, and being that this person was armed, (Lucero) pretty much took the appropriate actions from my understanding,” Apodaca said. “He announced that he was armed, he announced not to come into his house and (Padilla) still came in with a weapon.”

An obituary for Padilla said he was a Northern New Mexico College graduate with a bachelor’s degree in film and digital media arts. He was also in the process of pursuing his master’s degree in psychology.

Efforts to reach Padilla’s family for comment were unsuccessful.

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