Gunman broke into estranged wife’s home, then shot at Caldwell man holding a baby

Phillip Eddie Cabrera
Phillip Eddie Cabrera

Andrew Shepard, 34, of Caldwell, was holding a 10-month-old baby when Phillip Cabrera reportedly first fired at him Friday in a Nampa trailer home.

The child was that of Cabrera, 38, and the home belonged to Cabrera’s estranged wife. The late-night encounter ended with Shepard apparently shot to death and Cabrera surrendering to police.

Court documents — including an interview with Cabrera where he apparently admitted his actions — spell out the fatal events three months after Cabrera moved out of the home. According to Cabrera, the shooting was driven by his belief that Shepard “was cheating with his wife.”

Police never fired a shot. But Cabrera reportedly opened fire on officers when they arrived. Stray bullets struck a neighbor’s home, and one slammed through a bedroom, just above a bed, according to the probable cause affidavit filed in court.

What officers saw

Shepard was shot around 11:20 p.m. in the 4100 block of Bear Valley Drive.

Cabrera’s estranged wife and a 9-year-old child were also inside the home at the time. When the woman called 911 to report Cabrera trying to break in, she told dispatchers that Cabrera used to abuse her, that they were separated and that he carried a weapon.

She told dispatch that he was attempting to break into windows and trying to get in through the door, according to court documents.

Dispatchers could allegedly hear Cabrera in the background saying, “You cheated on me.” They also heard screaming.

The first Nampa police officer on scene approached the home to find the front door kicked in. The officer claimed Cabrera “smiled, pulled out a handgun and pointed it at (the officer’s) head.”

That officer immediately moved to the other side of the trailer, took cover behind his vehicle and started directing other officers.

At some point, Cabrera allegedly fired three shots in the officer’s general direction. No officers were injured during the incident.

Cabrera eventually surrendered, throwing his handgun and its magazine onto the front porch. He apparently made a few unsolicited statements to officers that his wife was cheating on him and he “lost it,” court documents state.

Police found Shepard dead inside the home with gunshot wounds. They also found two spent .45 caliber handgun shells under Shepard’s body and four more in the kitchen, according to court documents. There were four bullet holes near or through the front door, along with two bullet holes in the neighbor’s residence across the street.

Cabrera, of Meridian, is being held without bond at the Canyon County Jail. He is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and shooting into an occupied dwelling.

Wife speaks with police

After the shooting, a Nampa officer went to the hospital to interview the woman involved.

She told police that she had just put her children to bed when she heard Cabrera outside, banging on her windows. Despite yelling at him to leave, he would not.

She told police that Shepard also yelled at Cabrera to leave, adding that he had a bat.

The woman then retreated into a master bedroom and bathroom area and called police. Shepard followed and the woman and her children barricaded the door.

Cabrera reportedly broke the bathroom door in half, then took the first shots at Shepard, the latter holding the infant and the bat.

The woman then took the baby from Shepard and Cabrera momentarily stepped out of the bathroom. But, she said, Cabrera returned, reached past the 9-year-old and shot Shepard in the head.

Cabrera then left the bathroom and the woman heard police outside, followed by more gunshots. The woman said the next thing she heard was Cabrera saying he was putting his guns down and coming out.

A reported confession

Cabrera, in an interview back at the police station, said he and his wife had been having “trust” issues, leading him to move out.

He admitted that he had two beers Friday night and snorted two lines of cocaine before arriving at the trailer home with seven guns in his truck. He told police he parked the truck out of sight, on the corner of Pond Valley Drive and Squall Valley Drive.

According to court documents, when Cabrera saw Shepard’s vehicle parked next to his wife’s, he took a knife and slashed all four of Shepard’s tires. He told police he then went back to his truck and got his “favorite” guns — the Smith & Wesson handgun and an AR-15. He slung the rifle around his neck and approached the trailer. He knew the children were inside, he told the officers interviewing him.

He said he broke down the door and found Shepard. He admitted to shooting Shepard in the abdomen, stepping backward and then stepping toward Shepard and shooting him again in the head, the affidavit states. Cabrera said he never saw a bat in Shepard’s hand nor near him.

When Cabrera exited the bathroom, he saw “cop car lights,” he told officers. He said he thought police had heard his two shots and that there was going to be a “big shootout with cops like on TV/movies.” He admitted firing a few rounds outside the front door as he moved from the kitchen to the hallway, but denied seeing an officer at the time.

Cabrera said he debated killing himself, but he “could not do that.” Instead, he told police he was coming out and surrendered.

He told officers that he left the AR-15 in the living room, the affidavit states. As for the alleged murder, he said “that he should have walked after slashing (the victim’s) tires but he did not. He also indicated he just ‘lost it’ when he was in the house.”