Affidavit: Drunken passenger shot driver

Aaron Munoz

A man driving away from a melee where shots were fired early Saturday on Orchard Mesa was accidentally shot by a back-seat passenger in the man’s car, witnesses told Grand Junction police.

Aaron Munoz, 20, of Clifton, was arrested Sunday on a police warrant on suspicion of second-degree assault, possession of a weapon by a previous offender, illegal discharge of a firearm and reckless endangerment, all in connection with a shooting reported to police just before 3 a.m. Saturday. Officers responded on a shots-fired report at 138 Dorothy Ave., according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The victim was met by police in the parking lot of True Value, 2868 U.S. Highway 50.

There, they found a 16-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to his back, but he was walking around.

The boy told police he and Munoz, described in the affidavit as friends for the past seven years, got in a fight with another group at a party at the Dorothy Avenue home before they decided to leave in the boy’s car. Munoz was reportedly drunk. The boy said they were driving west on U.S. 50 near 27 Road when he was shot.

“He said Aaron was the one who shot him, saying Aaron was sitting in the rear passenger seat behind him,” the affidavit said. “(Boy) said he didn’t see the gun that night and didn’t know Aaron had it with him. (Boy) said he believed the shooting was accidental.”

Two other passengers in the car described a similar scenario to detectives.

In searching the vehicle at issue, a 1995 Nissan 200SX, police found a suspected bullet hole through the back rest of the driver’s seat and two unspent 9-mm bullets on the back floorboard. The manager of the True Value on Orchard Mesa, while opening for business Saturday morning, called police just before 8 a.m. and reported finding a 9-mm handgun in the parking lot. It had two live rounds in its magazine.

The victim was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital with injuries described as non-life threatening. He wasn’t listed in a patient directory at St. Mary’s as of Monday.

County Judge Craig Henderson on Monday ordered Munoz held at Mesa County Jail on $25,000 bond.

Formal charges are expected to be filed April 15.


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