Log In

Reset Password
News Education Local News Nation & World New Mexico

Park shooting suspects make initial court appearance in Durango

Three teenagers face first-degree murder charge for Santa Rita Park shooting
Four people were shot about 9:30 p.m. Monday at Santa Rita Park. A 47-year-old man was killed, and three teenagers were taken to the hospital with various degrees of injuries. (Shane Benjamin/Durango Herald file)

A mass shooting that left one man dead and three boys wounded earlier this week in Durango was the result of an ambush, in which three teens brought guns to what was supposed to be a fistfight, according to an arrest affidavit.

Dominic Ethan Baker-Alires, 19, and two 17-year-old boys appeared Wednesday in 6th Judicial District Court to be advised of possible charges, which include first-degree murder, assault, menacing and conspiracy.

The two 17-year-old boys appeared remotely because they are being housed at a juvenile detention center in Grand Junction.

Prosecutors announced they plan to charge the two 17-year-olds as adults, although formal charges have not yet been filed.


Baker-Alires appeared in court wearing shackles and an orange jail-issued jumpsuit. He held his head low, sniffled, and wiped away tears after exchanging long, sorrowful glances with family members in the courtroom gallery.

A man who identified himself as Baker-Alires’ father told The Durango Herald that his son graduated high school earlier this year. He has never been in trouble and he was planning to join the U.S. Marine Corps, the father said.

Assistant District Attorney Sean Murray asked that all three suspects be held on $5 million bail, but Chief District Judge Jeffrey Wilson set bail at $3 million in each of the three cases.

According to a heavily redacted affidavit, the melee began about 9:30 p.m. Monday when the three suspects arrived at Santa Rita Park in a black Dodge Charger in anticipation of having a one-on-one fight. One of the individuals in the black Charger planned to fight someone else who was already at the park.

But when the black Charger arrived, the three suspects exited the vehicle and gunfire erupted, according to the affidavit.

Rodney D. Bellino, 47, died from his wounds. Among the three teenagers who were shot: one was shot at least five times and flown to San Juan Regional Medical Center; one was shot at least three times and was flown to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver; and one was shot at least once and was treated at Mercy Hospital, according to the affidavit.

Police used orange spray paint to mark areas of interest after the shooting. (Shane Benjamin/Durango Herald file)

A witness said when the black Dodge Charger arrived at the park, people exited the vehicle and immediately began shooting.

Some witnesses hid among the parked cars or under parked cars during the shooting, which took place near the basketball court, according to the affidavit. One witness told police that the shooters “emptied at least two clips.” The “bullets were flying everywhere, just not all of us were shot,” a witness told police.

Baker-Alires told police he came to Durango earlier that day intending to find and fight one of the boys who suffered gunshot wounds. They had been in contact and were “calling each other out,” expressing that each one wanted to meet and fight, according to the affidavit.

Baker-Alires denied shooting any of the guns, but admitted that all three guns belonged to him, according to the affidavit. He said the guns are normally kept at his home and are used for home protection and small-game hunting.

Immediately after the shooting, the black Dodge Charger sped away. Law enforcement located the vehicle less than a half-hour later speeding and driving erratically on South Camino del Rio near the Home Depot.

Authorities stopped the vehicle and made arrests without incident. They located spent shell casings, two handguns and an AR-15-style rifle, according to the affidavit.

Formal charges are expected to be filed against all three suspects on Nov. 3 in District Court.


Reader Comments