Crime

Caldwell man was shot while trying to buy gun, court files state

A Caldwell man who sought to purchase a 12-gauge shotgun from an acquaintance was shot after the transaction went awry, according to court documents.

Juan M. Lopez, 28, was arrested Thursday in connection with the Nov. 8 incident. He’s being held in the Canyon County Jail on charges of aggravated battery and use of a firearm during a felony.

Previously, police said the 37-year-old victim was shot in the torso on the front porch of his home in the 2000 block of Lincoln Avenue.

The victim, still recovering Nov. 10 in a hospital bed in the Intensive Care Unit at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, identified Lopez out of a photo lineup as the man who shot him, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case.

Lopez, according to the victim, was among three people who visited his home for the sale. The victim told an investigator that he knew he could not own a gun, but “likes guns” and agreed to buy the shotgun for $300.

There was some sort of argument during the gun sale — redactions in the copy of the affidavit provided by authorities make it hard to tell exactly what happened, but the woman selling the shotgun claimed she was pushed down a staircase at one point. The woman then left the house about two hours after arriving, along with Lopez and a second man described as the woman’s boyfriend.

The description of the shooting itself varies. According to the affidavit, the victim told police that after he possibly “antagonized” the group but before they left, the boyfriend stuck the shotgun in the victim’s face. Lopez then allegedly took the shotgun from the boyfriend and shot the victim three times.

The woman selling the shotgun told police that the group first left the house, then returned because she had forgotten her cellphone. She retrieved her phone from the lawn at the house and got back in the car, she said. Meanwhile, Lopez and the boyfriend got out of the car with the shotgun and walked toward the front of the house.

According to the affidavit, the boyfriend returned to the car a few moments later. The woman said she then heard gunshots and saw Lopez run back to the car with the shotgun. He jumped into the driver’s seat and drove them back to Nampa, she told police.

The victim’s children were in the house at the time, police said.

Authorities filed a criminal complaint against Lopez on Nov. 12 and issued a $1 million warrant for his arrest. Members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and Caldwell police detectives arrested Lopez at a home in the 800 block of South 5th Avenue, and he was arraigned in court Nov. 13.

Lopez is a documented gang member, but the victim is not, police said.

He is next scheduled for a preliminary hearing Nov. 25. At a preliminary, a judge determines if there is enough evidence to send a case on to district court and a full trial.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller

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