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Evans mom, 4-year old girl shot with paintball guns in separate, related incidents

Five teens charged with assault, child abuse
Posted at 8:08 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 00:35:34-04

EVANS, Colo. -- Five young men have been charged with felony menacing, third-degree assault, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and child abuse following a paintball gun shooting spree which left two people injured in Evans Tuesday.

Police say the spree began around 7 p.m. Tuesday, when a woman reported getting struck by a paintball while holding her infant daughter.

The victim, Graciela Alvarez, told Denver7 she, her baby and several other kids were walking near Prairie View Drive and Cedar Lane when a carload of young men drove by.

"We heard them yell at us," she said, through an interpreter. "We stopped when the baby started crying and they shot me in the leg."

"It hurts," Ms. Alvarez said, pointing toward the back of her lower leg. "It's still purple."

She shared a picture taken immediately after the strike, which shows a black and blue bruise and orange paint running down her leg.

"My son came running into the house and freaking out that our neighbor got shot with a paintball gun, and it freaked me out," said next-door neighbor Jordan Gonzales. "I ran out of the house just to see what was going on and to make sure my daughter was OK."

Investigators say the suspects also targeted nearby townhomes, hitting windows and siding.

They also apparently shot a 4-year old girl in the vicinity of 35th Avenue and 37th Street.

"I think what's important to remember here is this incident wasn't a momentary lapse of judgment," said Evans Police Cmdr. Dan Ranous. "This was calculated cruelty to a four-year-old child, and a mother carrying her infant."

After receiving the first call, Evans police officers fanned out across the city.

Eventually, an alert citizen in Greeley got a license plate number following still another incident.

Police tracked down the car and arrested five suspects.

Erving Valentin, the driver, and passengers Anthony Villalobos, Benjamin Beckett, Allan Villalobos and Christopher Ide were all taken into custody.

Police say three paintball guns were recovered from the suspects' car.
"This incident was severe enough, in our eyes, that everybody in the vehicle was charged," Cmdr. Ranous said. "Not just the individual shooting the paintball guns, everybody that was complicit in the activity was charged in the event."

Ranous said neither of the victims required medical attention.

"This is just kind of sad when people do this. I don’t think they realize how how much trouble they can get into and who they could have hurt," said Nonie Sheel, whose property was damaged at both Arbor Garden Townhomes and the Cottages at the Landings.

"We need to be closer because of what we’ve gone through," she said. "Let’s start respecting property and be proud to live in such a nice place."

Ms. Alvarez said she's glad police found the young men believed responsible.

Her neighbor is too.

"I don’t get it," Gonzales said. "I don’t understand why people can be so mean and think they have nothing else better to do. There are millions of things to do rather than to do things like this."