Skip to comments.Attorney says shooter at Santa Fe Allsup's acted in self-defense
Posted on 06/02/2012 5:12:47 AM PDT by marktwain
Santa Fe police didn't charge local artist Mateo Romero in connection with last week's shooting outside a north-side convenience store, his attorney said Thursday, because he was acting in self-defense after a panhandling couple tried to rob him.
Attorney Dan Cron said in a telephone interview that police later told Romero he was targeted by a homeless couple who also had attempted to scam other people and were known drug users.
Cron said his client gave police the following account of last Friday's incident:
Romero pulled up next to gas pumps at Allsup's, 305 N. Guadalupe St., to fill up his Chevy Camaro at about 6:20 p.m. He opened the car's trunk, where he had a zippered plastic bank bag containing cash, to get money to pre-pay for his gas.
A homeless woman saw him get the money out and approached him at the back of his car and asked if he could spare some money. Romero "politely" declined, according to Cron.
After going into the store to pay for his gas, Romero was approached by a man, who police later told him previously had worked with the woman in panhandling scams.
Cron said the homeless man started yelling at Romero saying, "Do you get off talking ... to women, making them feel bad?"
Cron said his client tried to ignore the man as he made his way back to his car. The homeless man, who Santa Fe police Sgt. Andrea Dobyns said has not cooperated with the subsequent investigation, then threatened to rob Romero, according to Cron.
The attorney said Romero reached into his car to get his gun. "He was hoping by just brandishing [the gun] it would get the man to leave him alone," Cron said.
Instead, the homeless man kept pressing the issue, Cron said. Police have said the man at one point slammed his hand on the car hood.
Cron described Romero's single gunshot into the ground as a warning shot and said a "fragment" of the bullet ricocheted up and hit a bystander using a nearby pay phone.
The 24-year-old bystander was later treated and released at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center for an injury to his abdomen that wasn't life-threatening.
Cron said the man who was shot had become aggressive with Romero. "At that point, Mateo decided to leave," Cron said. "He went home and, after he had some time to collect his thoughts, he called police."
Police asked Romero to come in for an interview following Friday night's call. "Mr. Romero was fully compliant, turned himself in and was interviewed following the incident," Dobyns said earlier this week.
Dobyns explained that police were not filing any criminal charges against Romero because of a lack of cooperating victims willing to provide evidence of intent for an aggravated assault charge or for negligent use of a weapon.
Cron said his client was simply acting in self-defense.
Dobyns said Santa Fe police planned to forward the case to the District Attorney's Office for review. Cron said he had tried to obtain a copy of the official report at the District Attorney's Office but that as of Thursday no report had been filed there.
Romero is a well-known painter who makes realistic images of ceremonial dances, as well as more abstract works such as lithographs and mixed-media paintings. His work has been featured in the Santa Fe Indian Market for 23 years, and one of his paintings was chosen as the 2008 Indian Market poster.
> the man who was shot had become aggressive with Romero. “
now that is one dumb dude
Yep - as my wife would say (after being around me for a looooong time), "I know how he votes...".
The shooting range I belong to has rules and asks members to remind those who break them that they really need to follow them because they're in place for safety. The guy giving the briefing also said, "Just keep in mind that the person you're talking to is holding a loaded weapon...".
“Cron described Romero’s single gunshot into the ground as a warning shot”
Dumb. Warning shots are Hollywood nonsense. Either he was in real danger which would have necessitated the use of lethal force or he wasn’t. If he was, why fire warning shots? If he wasn’t, he had no business discharging his sidearm.
Anyone still going to argue in favor of "warning shots?"
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