A 19-year-old Pueblo West man was shot to death at a duplex early Sunday in The Blocks neighborhood. Investigators said the the shooter acted in self-defense and have found preliminary evidence to support his claim.
Through fingerprints, the victim was identified as James McCarty, according to Pueblo County Coroner James Kramer.
The incident happened at 1:25 a.m. at 203 Midway Ave.
Andrew Sandoval, 24, told police he shot the victim and "immediately" called 911.
Sgt. Eric Bravo of the Pueblo Police Department's Crimes Against Persons unit said Sandoval was hosting a small party when four men arrived and "badly" assaulted him. A relative of Sandoval's girlfriend invited the men there, he said.
The men left the party and later returned. One of the men again confronted Sandoval, who then drew a 9mm Glock handgun and shot the victim four times in the chest and once in the hip, Bravo said.
"We're looking at more of a self-defense kind of a deal. Sandoval was assaulted pretty good - he might have a broken nose - and some of the evidence inside corroborates his story. We don't even know what they're fighting about," Bravo said.
McCarty was pronounced dead at the scene. Police found no ID on him, so investigators used the Automated Fingerprint Identification System to learn the victim's true identity.
Sandoval, who Bravo said has no prior criminal history, has been cooperating with investigators and has not been arrested. Once completed, the investigation will be reviewed by the district attorney's office.
Bravo said the 9mm belongs to Sandoval.
Sandoval lives at the house with his 22-year-old girlfriend, Racquel Solorio. According to a report by Cpl. Gil Ladrini, Solorio said she was sleeping downstairs when Sandoval ran into the bedroom with blood on his face.
"Her boyfriend was visibly shaken and told her that they were coming after him," Ladrini said.
Solorio then heard banging noises coming from upstairs. Sandoval retrieved his gun and stepped into a hallway.
"Racquel then heard someone fall down the stairs and when (she) came into the hallway saw a male laying at the bottom of the stairs," Ladrini said.
After the shooting, the men accompanying the victim fled. Police still were searching for those men Sunday afternoon so they can be interviewed.
"Right now we're only getting one side of the story," Bravo said.
Meanwhile, police were still keeping watch outside the Mesa Junction area home where the shooting occurred. Officers were working rotating two-hour shifts to make sure the scene was undisturbed as they awaited Colorado Bureau of Investigations officials' inspection of the residence today.
One of the men's first name is Angelo. Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call CrimeStoppers, 542-7867.
This was the city's second homicide of the year and the third in the county.