NM: Boy, 13, killed in hunting accident
SAN RAFAEL — A Los Alamitos Middle School student was fatally shot in a
hunting accident May 13 at his family’s property in San Rafael.
Salvador Benavidez, 13, went with a friend to feed the family’s cattle
and hunt prairie dogs on the San Rafael property when the accident occurred
at approximately 6:30 p.m., Cibola County Undersheriff Felix Savaadra said
Benavidez, son of former Cibola County Sheriff Salvador Benavidez, Sr.,
was taken to Cibola General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival
at 7:30 p.m.
Savaadra, Sheriff Johnny Valdez and CCSO Lt. Harry Hall were at the
emergency room with the victim and contacted his mother, Paula Delara, in
The undersheriff said the victim was shot once in the upper left chest
area and the bullet penetrated his heart.
Investigations concluded the shooting was an accident and no charges have
been filed. Savaadra said the case will be reviewed by the 13th Judicial
District Attorney’s Office but CCSO has no plans to file any charges.
The boys, who had been shooting the varmints for the three days before
the incident, left Benavidez Sr. at the gate to a field and drove onto the
family’s property, Savaadra explained. He said that the elder Benavidez saw
the truck stop, the door open and the boy fall out, but heard no gun shots.
Investigators determined that the Benavidez was shot at close range with
a short barrel .22-caliber lever-action rifle when the second child was
loaded the firearm and it accidentally discharged.
According to Savaadra’s information, Benavidez stopped the truck and
reached behind the seat for the rifle, then handed it to the other boy with
the barrel pointed in his own direction, then the other boy loaded the
firearm, which discharged when the barrel was closed. The Undersheriff said
the rifle was known to have a sensitive trigger.
The sheriff’s office spokesman said Benavidez, Sr. had trained his son in
safe firearm handling. No information is available about the hunting
background of the other boy.
Chief Robert Hays of Grants Fire and Rescue said that a single shot from
a .22-rifle, often considered a less dangerous firearm than most, can cause
a fatal injury when the bullet enters the thoracic cavity at certain angles.
He added that the risk is much greater in a child or teen.
Return to Hunting Accident Index
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