Shooting at Apodaca Park considered self-defense, police say

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By: Jesse Martinez


LAS CRUCES, N.M. – A man who was shot at a Las Cruces park last week was arrested for allegedly trying to restrain his shooter and the shooter’s son, police said.


As KFOX14 previously reported, a 27-year-old man was shot at Apodaca Park Thursday afternoon and was taken to a hospital for treatment.


Police said that man was Giovanni Melero, and he and his accomplice, Freddy R. Lopez, 26, were both charged with one count of false imprisonment and conspiracy.


Investigators determined that on the afternoon of the shooting, the 27-year-old victim and his 4-year-old son were sitting in a vehicle and eating lunch when Melero drove by in a white Ford F-150.


Melero met with Lopez, who was driving a blue Cadillac Escalade, on the north side of the park, and the two then drove toward the victim, police said.


Lopez parked in front of the victim’s car while Melero parked on the driver’s side, police said.


Melero allegedly tried to get inside the victim’s vehicle while threatening to kill him and the boy, police said.


At that point, the victim pulled out a .40-caliber handgun and shot Melero once in the neck, police said.


The victim drove away from the scene and was followed by Lopez, who soon after went back to the park and took Melero to the hospital, police said.


Police said Melero was suspected of threatening to kill or harm the victim on at least two other occasions.


Melero is dating the victim’s estranged wife, and the victim and the woman share custody of the 4-year-old, police said.


Melero’s injuries were considered non-life-threatening and he was released from the hospital on Saturday. He turned himself in to police Tuesday afternoon.


He was booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center with bail set at $25,000.


Lopez was arrested Thursday evening and has posted bond, police said.


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