Victims’ dating upset shooter, warrants say
A Roaring Fork Valley restaurant owner may face first-degree murder charges after allegedly shooting his stepdaughter and her boyfriend, who later died, because he didn’t want them dating.
Fredy Argueta Cabrera, 39, wanted to be in a relationship with his stepdaughter himself, one witness has told a Garfield County sheriff’s investigator.
Cabrera initially was held in Mesa County Jail after turning himself in there Thursday. He was transferred Friday to Garfield County Jail and was on a no-bond hold.
Cabrera, who lives outside Carbondale, owns the El Horizonte restaurants in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale. According to the restaurants’ website, he is an El Salvador native who fled that country during its civil war and has lived for more than 20 years in the Roaring Fork Valley, working his way up from dishwasher to eatery owner.
According to arrest and search warrant affidavits by the Sheriff’s Office, Cabrera is being investigated on suspicion of first-degree murder after the incident late Wednesday night at the Riverside Cottages south of Glenwood Springs. A handgun reportedly was found at the scene.
Douglas Menjivar, 21, who was originally from El Salvador but was living at Riverside Cottages, died in the shooting, the Garfield County Coroner’s Office says. The arrest warrant indicates he was shot in the neck, abdomen and hip and died at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.
Leydy Trejo was shot in the lower leg and taken to a hospital in Denver.
The warrants indicate she told authorities that Cabrera didn’t like her boyfriend and didn’t like them dating, and she thinks that’s why he shot them. She said she and Menjivar were going into their apartment from their car when Cabrera and another Hispanic man she didn’t know came up behind them. Cabrera shot Menjivar a few times, her once, and then Menjivar a few more times when he tried to get up and fight back, Trejo told investigators.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office has said little about the case and has made no mention of seeking anyone else in the shooting other than Cabrera.
Misael Martinez-Rivas, who lived with Trejo and Menjivar, told authorities he was inside the apartment playing video games when he heard gunshots. He said when he went outside he saw his boss, Cabrera, walk to his vehicle, a burgundy Nissan Frontier, look back in Martinez-Rivas’ direction, and then get inside the vehicle. Investigators reportedly found a burgundy Nissan Frontier registered to Cabrera at his home, with what appeared to be blood on the door handle and inside.
Martinez-Rivas told investigators Cabrera didn’t like Menjivar because Cabrera wanted to be in a relationship with Trejo, and that Menjivar had told him a few weeks earlier that Cabrera wanted to kill him. Martinez-Rivas said Trejo had moved in with them about a week ago.
A cousin of Trejo’s told investigators she had received a cellphone voicemail Wednesday from Cabrera in which he talked about hurting Menjivar and Trejo. She turned the phone over to investigators.
Noe Antonio Menjivar, who also lived with Trejo and Douglas Menjivar, told authorities he was standing outside the apartment and saw the shooting. He said he saw a man he knew to be named “William,” but whom he later identified through a photograph as being Cabrera, walk toward the couple and shoot Douglas Menjivar with a handgun. He said Cabrera didn’t speak during the incident.
He said Menjivar fell onto Cabrera and they both fell to the ground and then over a 6- to 8-foot-high rock wall to a lower level of a parking lot.
The search warrant says Cabrera had a bandaged arm and hand when he surrendered in Mesa County.
The warrants make no mention of Noe Antonio Menjivar or Martinez-Rivas seeing another man with Cabrera during the incident.
An investigator reported finding a revolver-style handgun on a shelf of a barbecue grill by the lower apartments in the complex. It had spent casings that suggested it had been fired. An apparently bloody cellphone also was found on the scene, the search warrant indicates.
Trejo reportedly expressed concern that Cabrera might harm her mother and sisters at his home. They told her that her mother already had been evacuated.
Investigators learned from her mother that she had received a call after the shooting from Cabrera in which he said he was in Basalt. Investigators worked with Verizon and tracked locations from the phone in the Glenwood Springs and rural Carbondale areas.
Mesa County sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Benjamin and Ninth Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia said Friday they didn’t know how Cabrera ended up in Mesa County, and the Garfield sheriff’s office didn’t elaborate.
Meanwhile, the Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority put out an email alert Friday to residents on “a suspect vehicle involved in the homicide in Glenwood Springs” on Wednesday. It said the vehicle is out of Basalt and is a 2005 gold Jeep Grand Cherokee with a license plate number of 153RNN. It asks that anyone seeing the vehicle call 911. There was no explanation of how the vehicle might be involved in the case.
Also Friday, Caloia’s office asked the court to vacate an order appointing the Public Defender’s Office to represent Cabrera, and asking for a hearing on the matter. Caloia considers the order premature, with Cabrera having yet to even appear in court. She also questions his need for a public defender, saying he owns two homes in addition to the two restaurants.