Pueblo judge rules attempted murder case can proceed to trial

  • In US
  • 2022-08-10 11:30:19Z
  • By The Pueblo Chieftain

A Pueblo judge ruled Monday that an attempted murder case stemming from a shooting in January can move to trial.

Dante Williams, 33, is charged with attempted murder and first-degree assault in connection to the shooting, which took place outside of Classic Q's pool hall.

Police allege Williams fired several shots outside Classic Q's, striking Renee Gonzales, who was in the driver's seat of her car in the parking lot.

Gonzales suffered a punctured lung, torn trachea and fractured forearm after police say she was shot at least four times.

A serious bodily injury form signed by a doctor at Parkview Medical Center indicated Gonzales had a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement and suffered multiple injuries in the shooting, officer Allen Peil of the Pueblo Police Department said during a July 29 hearing.

More:Pueblo man charged with attempted murder in shooting outside pool hall

On the night of Jan. 15, police say Williams and Daniel Howard - who they say was later identified due to previous contact with law enforcement - departed from Classic Q's, but left Howard's silver Ford Fusion in the parking lot.

Hours later, about 4:10 a.m., surveillance video from outside the pool hall showed a man in a Pittsburgh Pirates No. 45 jersey and black ballcap - who police say they later learned was Williams - exit the rear passenger's side of a red Ford Focus hatchback and walk around the front of Howard's Fusion parked next to it. A black sedan then pulled up, according to Det. Bryan Gonzales of Pueblo PD.

Bryan Gonzales said the man in the baseball jersey then began shooting.

"In the video I could see the muzzle flash," he testified, saying he counted 14 muzzle flashes in the surveillance video.

Gonzales said the video then shows Howard exit the rear driver's side of the Focus and enter the driver's side of the silver Fusion, while Williams entered the passenger's seat. Both vehicles then left the scene.

The black sedan, which was driven by Renee Gonzales, could then be seen coasting into the parking lot of a liquor store across the street before coming to a stop, Bryan Gonzales said.

On Feb. 2, 2022, Howard was killed in an alleged drive-by shooting while meeting with Williams, who then drove Howard to the emergency room at St. Mary Corwin Hospital.

In an interview with police following the alleged drive-by, Williams denied being present when Renee Gonzales was shot and said he had no knowledge of the incident, even when he was told the suspect in surveillance footage "looked a lot like him," according to a Pueblo PD arrest affidavit charging him with attempted murder.

Police say Howard allowed them to download the contents of his phone and Det. Carly Verdugo allegedly found photos of Williams in a No. 45 Pittsburgh Pirates baseball jersey and ballcap matching the shooter's outfit captured on surveillance video.

The driver of the Focus seen on the video testified on Aug. 8 that she was at a house party with a friend that night when she received a text from her friend Howard, asking her to pick up him and a friend from a house on the east side of Pueblo and take them back to Classic Q's.

The women picked up Howard and his friend and when they arrived at Classic Q's, Guitterez-Gonzales said the back doors were "jail-locked," meaning child locked, which the women both testified annoyed Williams.

Williams, according to the Focus driver's testimony, allegedly told Guitterez-Gonzales "not to talk about jail" and swore at her before getting out of the vehicle, tapping a gun against the passenger window, and firing at a target neither of the women could see.

At that point, Howard got out of the car and he and Williams drove away in Howard's vehicle.

Both women identified Williams in the courtroom as the friend of Howard's who fired the gun.

The driver of the Focus said they believed at the time that he was "just shooting in the air."

The women testified that neither Howard or Williams discussed shooting anyone or directly saw what Williams fired at.

Judge William Alexander determined on Aug. 8 there was sufficient evidence to move the case to trial. A finding of probable cause is a much lower bar than the "beyond reasonable doubt" needed to sustain a conviction, Alexander explained.

"Probable cause is established when the evidence is sufficient to induce a person of ordinary prudence and caution to entertain a reasonable belief that the defendant committed the crimes charged. In addition, evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution," Alexander said.

Williams has an arraignment hearing set for Sept. 15th.

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. Arrests and charges are merely accusations by law enforcement until, and unless, a suspect is convicted of a crime.

Questions, comments, or story tips? Contact Justin at jreutterma@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @jayreutter1.

This article originally appeared on The Pueblo Chieftain: Pueblo judge rules attempted murder case can proceed to trial


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