Deputies say a Peralta man is lucky to be alive after a bullet struck a medallion he was wearing, diverting it to another part of his chest early Saturday.
Ignacio Jose Baca, 34, is recovering at home after spending one night in the hospital. Valencia County Sheriff’s Detective Rodney Jones said, after the bullet struck the gold religious medallion, it entered the muscle in the left part of Baca’s chest.
The bullet traveled out of Baca’s chest, entering and then exiting his left arm. When deputies arrived on the scene, they found the bullet had gone on to hit the wall and fall to the floor.
Baca’s girlfriend, Rachel Aragon, 32, was arrested and charged with one count of attempted murder and one count of aggravated battery.
According to Jones, deputies arrived at a house at 01 Monica Road in Peralta at about 3:17 a.m. to find Baca with a single gunshot wound, lying on a bed. Jones said Baca and Aragon first told the deputies that Baca had accidentally shot himself.
But detectives continued their questioning and investigation.
“We believe he was standing in the doorway of the kitchen and she was standing in another room about 10 feet away from the victim when the shot was fired,” Jones said.
The police report charges that “after the victim was yelling at her (Aragon) in the front living room, the suspect (Aragon) picked up the pistol and pointed it at him stating ‘Leave me alone or I’ll kill you.'” Jones charged Aragon fired the .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
Jones said Baca had purchased the gun for Aragon two days before the shooting. According to the police report, Aragon told the deputies that she and Baca had been shooting the gun in the backyard earlier in the evening.
The detective said the couple began fighting when Aragon came home from the store to find Baca sleeping on the couch. Jones said Baca became angry when Aragon told him to turn off the lights.
“He’s just lucky to be alive,” Jones said of Baca. “He’s lucky he was wearing that medallion because the bullet was aimed right at the middle of his chest.”
Aragon was arrested and paid the bond that same day.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.