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APD detectives say March fatal shooting was self-defense

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Detectives have determined that the fatal shooting of a man last month at a Northeast Albuquerque apartment was a justifiable homicide.

Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque police spokesman, said the March 19 death of Dominic Lueras, 39, is being considered a self-defense shooting after “consulting with the District Attorney’s Office.”

Prosecutors dismissed the murder case against Manuel Vargas, 24, on March 31. Gallegos did not say why detectives deemed the killing justifiable.

Vargas and Lueras got into a dispute in the parking lot of the Sun Pointe Park Apartments. Police say both men pulled out guns and Vargas shot Lueras, killing him.

Vargas was arrested the day of the shooting and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center. He was released April 1.

The day before Vargas was released he was hospitalized – to get stitches over his eye and X-rays for “possible facial fractures” – after allegedly getting into a fight with another inmate.

According to court records, a jail guard tried to stop the fight between the two men and Vargas tried to punch the guard, but missed, and the guard used pepper spray on him.

Authorities say both inmates were put in restraints and then Vargas “intentionally and continuously spit blood” onto the “hands, arms and uniforms” of three jail guards.

Vargas was charged with battery upon a peace officer and attempted battery upon a peace officer in that incident.

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