Witnesses: Shooting victim threw beer bottle at suspect’s car

CNJ staff

Moments before the shooting began, witnesses told investigators Daniel Perez threw a beer bottle at a car belonging to Louis Guerra.

At least 11 shots were then fired from a 40 caliber semi-automatic gun, one of which struck Perez in the right side of the head, according to an affidavit filed Monday in Curry County Magistrate Court.

Perez died April 19, six days after the shooting that took place in the 900 block of South Valley Road.

Guerra, 30, has been charged with an open count of murder in connection with the shooting, which sheriff’s officials have termed gang related.

According to the affidavit filed by Curry County Sheriff’s investigators, about five hours before the shooting April 13, Guerra and Perez were involved in a fight at the Clovis Apartments in the 1000 block of Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard.

Clovis police officers responded to the apartment complex and identified members of two gangs involved in the altercation.

Perez, his brothers Jaime and Ruben Perez and three associates were listed as being involved on the side of the “South Siders.” Guerra, his girlfriend Desery Rodriguez and two others were listed as being involved and affiliated with the “West Side Locos,” records show.

Clovis Police Officer Roman Romero stopped Guerra’s vehicle leaving the fight and identified Guerra and Rodriguez, noting Guerra was bleeding from the mouth.

Guerra’s friend, Albert Moncada, told investigators Guerra was “extremely upset” about the fight.

After the fight, nine people with the “South Siders” congregated at Perez residence at 931 South Valley Road and saw a green Cadillac — identified as Guerra’s vehicle by witnesses — pull into the neighbor’s driveway.

Perez’ brother Jaime Perez said he saw his brother walk toward the car, which backed into the road. He said the driver had the door open and he could hear them arguing, then the driver began shooting, records show.

Other witnesses, who said they recognized the voice as Guerra’s, said they heard the driver yell “West Side” and curse and another male voice yell “South Side,” right before the shooting began.

Records show 11 spent 40-caliber bullet casings were collected from the area where Perez was found and a broken beer bottle.

Investigators also found gun shot residue on the gear shift handle in Guerra’s vehicle, the affidavit said.

Rodriguez was arrested later that night for DWI and when she was booked at the jail, detention officers found an unfired 40 caliber bullet hidden in her underwear, records show.

Marks on the bullet in Rodriguez’ underwear matched similar marks on the casings collected from the scene. The marks were made by the process of being ejected from a gun, the affidavit said.

Rodriguez told investigators she was at the Clovis Apartments with Guerra when the fight happened. She said someone hit him and they went home where she made dinner for Guerra and two friends. She said they stayed in for the night, the affidavit said.