Charges filed in Carbondale shooting case
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Prosecutors on Wednesday filed three counts, two felonies and one misdemeanor, in Ninth Judicial District Court against suspected shooter Carmelo Cruz, dropping one count that originally was attached to his booking documents at the Garfield County Jail.
Cruz, 43, was charged with second degree assault, a class four felony; tampering with or destroying evidence, a class six felony, and prohibited use of weapons, a class two misdemeanor, in documents submitted to Magistrate Holly Strablizky.
If convicted, he faces a possible sentence of up to six years in prison for the assault charge, and up to three years in prison for tampering with evidence.
Cruz, who lives in Englewood, is being held in the jail on a bond of $6,364, and originally was also charged with illegal discharge of a firearm.
According to an affidavit filed by the Garfield County Sheriff’s office, Cruz had been drinking and possibly using cocaine for some time on the evening of Oct. 12 and into the early hours of Oct. 13, with a Carbondale man named Rocky Mendoza and Mendoza’s nephew.
Shortly after midnight, according to the affidavit, Cruz pulled out a pistol and fired it twice, allegedly hitting Mendoza and sending him to Valley View Hospital for emergency surgery.
Cruz reportedly fled the scene, tossing the pistol aside as he did, and was later arrested in Glenwood Springs, according to the affidavit.
Mendoza survived the incident, although there was no information available on Wednesday as to his condition.
In court on Wednesday, there was some confusion as to who would represent Cruz.
Through an interpreter, Cruz told the magistrate that he had received an envelope with the name of a private attorney to defend him against the charges he was facing. But neither the magistrate nor Public Defender Sara Steele could identify a private attorney in the courtroom who would admit to sending the envelope, and Steele said her office had no prior contact with Cruz.
After further questioning, it turned out that Cruz expected to be represented by the public defender’s office, and Steele was appointed, though the note was never explained.
In addition, Strablizky stressed that if Cruz did not qualify for a court-appointed lawyer Steele would have to withdraw from the case and Cruz would be required to hire a private attorney.
Cruz is expected in court again on Nov. 12 for further proceedings against him.
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Imagine Glenwood and The City of Glenwood Springs is slated to host a virtual town hall at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 11.