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Witness turns tables on gunman trying to kill him
By DEANNA BOYD
FORT WORTH -- A witness to a slaying escaped severe injury or death early Thursday when a relative of the murder suspect tried to shoot him in the head but the gun would not fire, police said.
Lt. Dean Sullivan, police spokesman, said the witness, who had noticed that the gun's safety was still on, wrestled the gun away from the suspect, took off the safety and then shot the fleeing suspect once in the back.
Sullivan said two people who were with the suspect who had been waiting by the street then got their own guns from a car and returned fire at the witness. He said the witness retreated inside his home in the 1400 block of East Butler Street and was not injured.
The three suspects fled before police could arrive. As officers were at the scene investigating, John Peter Smith Hospital reported to police that a man with a gunshot in the back had been dropped off at the hospital by occupants of a vehicle who then left, Sullivan said.
The wounded man, whom police did not identify because he had not been formally arrested, initially told officers that he had been shot outside a nightclub but was linked by investigations to the shooting on Butler, Sullivan said. He faces a charge of aggravated assault.
"Our suspect's still in critical condition, so we haven't been able to interview him at length in regards to his side of the story," Sullivan said. "If it's determined through the course of investigation that we're able to establish some ulterior motive specifically, tampering or retaliation against a witness in that murder case, then certainly higher charges will be presented."
The victim is a witness in the June 3 shooting of Joe Abrego, 29.
Gregorio Ontiveros has been indicted on a murder charge in Abrego's death and is awaiting trial.
Police have said Ontiveros and Abrego had been drinking in the front yard of the home in the 1400 block of East Butler Street when Abrego challenged Ontiveros to a fight. They said that later, when Abrego challenged Ontiveros again, Ontiveros pulled out a gun and shot Abrego in the chest.
On Thursday, the witness told police, he was awakened shortly before 3:30 a.m. by the suspect, a relative of Ontiveros, knocking on his door.
"He opened the door, and that suspect said he needed to talk to him about the case with his [relative] coming up for trial," Sullivan said.
Sullivan said the witness replied that he didn't have anything to talk about and that there was nothing to say.
"At that time his attention was drawn to two accomplices that were standing in the street behind the suspect vehicle at the end of the driveway," Sullivan said. "He looked at them, and when he looked back, the suspect had produced a handgun and was pointing it at the victim's head. That suspect attempted to fire the weapon, but it did not discharge."
Sullivan said police are still looking for the two people who were with the suspect.
Ontiveros has been free on bail since July in connection with Abrego's death.
DEANNA BOYD, 817-390-7655