Man Argued with Victim Prior to Valdez Park Shooting

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“I was going to pick a fight with him,” Eleazar Lopez said, looking at Victor CdeBaca during an Aug. 29 pretrial detention hearing. “And I saw you were an old man, so I figured I’d leave it at that because I have a little more respect than that.” CdeBaca will be held in jail without bail until trial after First Judicial District Court Judge Jason Lidyard ruled that he was a danger to the community.

The man shot at Valdez Park Aug. 20 appeared in court Aug. 29 to testify with the bullet still lodged in the back of his head.

Eleazar “Junior” Lopez looked directly at Victor CdeBaca, the man accused of shooting him, during a pretrial detention or dangerousness hearing at the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe and said he had not wanted to fight the defendant because of his age.

During his testimony, Lopez looked directly at CdeBaca as he said the two had an argument, but he had tried to walk away from the disagreement because he saw CdeBaca was “elderly.”

First Judicial District Assistant District Attorney Brittany Crum interrupted Lopez to redirect his attention to her, as he spoke.

“I was going to pick a fight with him,” Lopez said, turning his gaze to the defendant’s table and raising his finger in a pointing motion. “And I saw you were an old man, so I figured I’d leave it at that because I have a little more respect than that.”

First Judicial District Court Judge Jason Lidyard interrupted the testimony to instruct Lopez.

“This isn’t an opportunity for you to tell this man all the things that you feel about him or what you wanted to tell him on the day in question,” Lidyard said. “We’re just trying to get an understanding of what happened there that day. So I just need you to describe the events that happened.”

Crum refocused Lopez who continued his testimony. Through a series of questions, Crum established that Lopez and CdeBaca were allegedly in an argument prior to the shooting when CdeBaca was walking his dog, which ended without altercation. It was after CdeBaca took his dog safely home that things went awry.

“The second time that he came he had no dog, and he had shot me,” Lopez said. “I didn’t want to fight no more, I’d seen he was an elderly man, so I figured I’d leave it alone.”

CdeBaca allegedly left the park and returned with a .45 caliber handgun.

“I was walking away from the fight, I figured I’d leave it alone,” Lopez said. “A gunshot went off and it was right once I turned around even looking away from him, and that’s it I hit the floor I guess.”

Lopez said his mind went blank when he was shot, but that his girlfriend Jazzmin Garcia told him he was twitching on the ground.

“I hit the floor, it like, woke me back up, and then after that, my mind when blank at that time,” Lopez said. “But everything started coming back piece by piece.”

Garcia also testified during the hearing, and described being afraid as she heard gunfire.

Española Police Department Officer Dustin Chavez, and Department Det. Ernest Saucedo described the investigation and series of events briefly.

Court documents show CdeBaca told Saucedo during an interview after his arrest he had been walking his dog with his fiancé Melissa Duran, when Lopez began to yell at them. And that after he went home to drop off his dog, he decided to get a handgun for protection.

Saucedo testified that CdeBaca admitted to firing the .45 caliber handgun, but said he did so to “scare” Lopez and the other people with him.

After firing the gun, CdeBaca told Saucedo he and Duran went back to JGN Lane where he hid the gun in his fire pit and the two began doing yardwork.

Crum asked the court to hold CdeBaca in jail until his trial in part because the shooting took place in a public park, and near the YDI Headstart on a Tuesday afternoon when children were likely to be present.

Lidyard ruled that there were no conditions of release that would protect the community from the risk CdeBaca posed if he were to be in the community. He is being held without bond until his trial, at a date yet to be determined.

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