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Ski celebrity charged with murder in county

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Sandoval County Sheriff’s deputies have charged ski celebrity Dean Cummings in a homicide that took place near Cabezon Peak on Feb. 29.

Dean Cummings

During an argument over property Cummings was attempting to purchase, he shot victim Guillermo Arriola with an “AR-15-type rifle,” according to court documents. He is charged with an open count of first-degree murder, felony tampering with evidence and concealing his identity, a misdemeanor.

Cummings told his father and another man that he shot Arriola, according to the documents. The second man had medical experience and went with Cummings back to the mobile home where Arriola was shot.

The individual called 911 after seeing Arriola’s body, according to court documents. The Sandoval County Regional Communications Center received the call about 5:30 p.m.

About 5:45 p.m., Cummings called 911, reached the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs dispatch center and said he was attacked by “Geome” and defended himself by shooting the other man, according to court documents.

About 7:10 p.m., three deputies detained the 54-year-old skier at the mobile home. Cummings told them he’d shot Arriola but refused to give them his name, according court documents.

While being interviewed around 1 a.m. March 1, Cummings said Arriola demanded $1 million and sprayed him in the face with a burning chemical, and then he shot Arriola. He told investigators he changed his clothes to get the chemical off his body and left the clothing on the back gate of his vehicle as he left the property.

Investigators found a can of pepper spray on the scene, but it didn’t appear to have been used, according to court documents. Deputies found the rifle on the stairs to the residence.

For a week before the incident, Cummings had been staying at the property 2.5 miles south of San Luis Road on Cerro de Los Pinos in San Luis, where the incident occurred, according to the documents.

According to Polarmax’s website, Cummings was a U.S. Freestyle Ski Team member and was ranked as the No. 1 freestyle skier in the U.S. and No. 2 in North America at one point. He won multiple skiing championships in the 1990s.

According to Powder magazine, he won the Best Line Award for the first descent of Meteorite Mountain’s Dragon’s Back in 2012, has claimed more than 220 first descents and operated Valdez H20 Heli Adventures for 24 years until last season.

Cummings was being held at the Sandoval County Detention Center. Court documents show addresses for him in Rio Rancho and Los Alamos.

Observer editor Argen Marie Duncan contributed to this story.



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