Felon on Parole Shot After Invading New Mexico Home

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Things went from bad to worse for a New Mexico man accused of doing some late-night prowling in northern New Mexico this week. As the Rio Grande Sun reports, Robert Trujillo had already been spotted by one homeowner before hopping a fence and managing to gain entry into the neighboring home of Ross Varela.


Little did Trujillo know that Varela and his wife Cynthia were awake and aware that something was going on outside their home after hearing shots fired and their neighbor yell out for help. Varela had stepped outside his home and spotted Trujillo headed for his back door, so he ran inside and grabbed a gun of his own to protect his family.

Before her husband entered the kitchen, Cynthia Varela saw Trujillo in her kitchen and called 911. He had been on the floor but got up as she was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher. 

“Mrs. Varela mentioned she went outside because she was afraid, heard a pop, and waited for the law enforcement’s arrival,” Romero wrote. “Mrs. Varela stated she was in a panic, especially after she saw the gun, as she heard Fabian Trujillo say someone wanted to kill her and believed he was under the influence of narcotics.

“Ross Varela mentioned he observed Fabian Trujillo enter his home, falling upon his entry and dropping a gun that slid across the kitchen floor. Ross Varela stated he held his rifle on Fabian Trujillo, saying, ‘don’t move, don’t move,’ and Fabian Trujillo grabbed the rifle barrel.”

As the pair fought over control of the rifle, Varela's 17-year-old nephew (identified in police reports by the initials E.B.) came out of his room and saw the struggle taking place in the kitchen. Grabbing a nearby tennis racket, the teen started whacking Trujillo, but according to police Trujillo refused to let go. That's when Varela pulled the trigger, hitting Varela at least once. 


As the injured man tried to get up, Ross Varela handed the rifle to E.B. and grabbed a fire extinguisher, then hit Trujillo on the head. He told Romero “I didn’t want to shoot him again.”

In an interview with Romero, Ross Varela told the detective that he was in fear for his family and his safety as Trujillo was gaining the upper hand in the struggle over the gun and the barrel was being turned in his direction. As a result, he thought he had no choice but to shoot Trujillo because despite repeated blows with the tennis racket by E.B., he was not stopping.

Varela suffered several injuries in the encounter with Trujillo, including some bruising to his arms where his nephew inadvertently hit him with the tennis racquet, but he's expected to be okay. 

Trujillo will recover from his injuries as well, but he still has to deal with the litany of charges that have been filed against him.

He is charged with one count each of breaking and entering, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, felon in possession of a firearm and abuse of a child.

This is the second home invasion incident in the past couple weeks. On March 9, Pablo Hinz was shot and killed when he allegedly tried to enter a Middle San Pedro home. 

The homeowner caught the man in his garage and after a struggle, shot Hinz. Like Trujillo, Hinz had a prior rap sheet, according to court records.


Amazingly, Rio Arriba Sheriff's Major Lorenzo Aguilar's advice to homeowners following these attacks was to put security cameras inside their home. That might help police identify a suspect after the fact, but it won't do a thing to save your life if you're confronted by an armed home invader. 

These homeowners had a better idea: have a gun, know how to use it, and be ready to defend yourself and your loved ones in the event a criminal decides your home looks like an inviting target. 

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