A dispute among residents of the Vista Alegre residential complex culminated early Tuesday, May 29 with the fatal shooting of a Mexican man inflicted by the president of the condominium homeowners association (HOA), a U.S. citizen holding permanent resident status in this country.
While local authorities ignored repeated enquiries by this newspaper, details of the incident were revealed by Vista Alegre board vice president and treasurer Ken Corbin, who has been closely involved with the situation prior to and since the shooting occurred.
In keeping with journalistic standards stipulated under Mexico’s criminal justice system, complete names of the victim and the shooter are omitted from his account of the chain of events.
According to Corbin, the dead man, Antonio “N”, 39, had resided in the upscale condo complex located near the south end of the Libramiento bypass for several years with his brother. His mother and stepfather live in another Vista Alegre home.
Tony apparently suffered from physical and psychological disabilities that affected his dealings with other people. He owned four pitbulls known for uncontrolled and vicious behavior that had become a neighborhood nuisance. The HOA recently issued him notice to get rid of all but one of animals, prompting a personal grudge against Walter “N”, the board president.
Corbin says that Tony initially agreed to comply with the order and then reneged, even though other residents had helped find new homes for the troublesome dogs. His rage against Walter built up until around 7 a.m. on Tuesday he charged into the courtyard of Walter’s home where his wife had opened the gate, mistaking the angry intruder for the couple’s landscaper.
After berating her verbally, he launched a physical attack, grabbing her by the neck. Hearing his spouse scream for help, Walter emerged from the home with a shotgun. He demanded that Tony leave, but he refused, continuing a heated argument. As a struggle over the weapon ensued, the gun fired and Tony fell dead on the spot with a wound to the upper torso. During the scuffle Walter suffered an injury to his right hand that caused profuse bleeding.
Local police were promptly alerted and arrived within minutes. A state forensic team eventually appeared to retrieve the corpse. Walter was taken into custody and delivered to the Chapala Ministerio Público (district attorney) to give a statement. He was held overnight at the municipal clinic under medical care of the on-duty physician.
The following day he was transported to the regional court for a preliminary hearing that included testimony from numerous witnesses. The presiding judge determined Walter had acted in legitimate defense of his property and family, immediately releasing him without criminal charges.
Funeral arrangements for Tony were unknown at press time.
Corbin qualifies the incident as a “terrible tragedy” that has traumatized all parties involved.