Arrest affidavit indicates gang violence fueled shooting at Colorado Springs skate park

By Andrea Sinclair Published: December 10, 2013 | 9:15 am

A witness account of the Nov. 26 shooting of a man at Memorial Park skate park, which was reportedly caught partly on video, led Colorado Springs detectives to believe the incident was gang-related, according to an arrest warrant for the main suspect, Joaquin Soto.

Soto, 23, was booked into the El Paso County jail on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder and held on a $100,000 bond, court records show.

The victim, 22-year-old Michael Swanson, suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach and was taken to Memorial Hospital but was expected to survive, police said. According to the affidavit, Swanson told detectives he did not know the person who shot him.

A witness told police he saw Swanson talking with a red-haired woman at a bench about 3:30 p.m. and that he had not seen the victim at the skate park before. Soto allegedly walked over and ordered Swanson to "stop talking to his girl," the witness said.

According to the witness, Swanson was wearing a red bandana and Soto was wearing a blue shirt, and during their confrontation over the girl, they picked on each other about their gang affiliations and challenged each other to a fight.

Soto then walked away, saying he was going to "call his boy over," and making a phone call, the witness said.

Soto returned with an unidentified man who was carrying a revolver and who allegedly shot Swanson in the stomach and then kept walking, according to the witness statement.

The witness told police he captured a portion of the confrontation and the shooting on video with his smartphone, which he turned over to detectives.

Later that night, detectives showed the witness several mug shots, from which he allegedly picked Soto out as the man involved in the shooting.

The affidavit did not specify the circumstances of Soto's arrest Friday, along with Jeritt Tardiff, 20, who also was taken into custody in connection with the shooting. Police have not said if Tardiff was the man who allegedly shot Swanson.

Soto is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 16 at 8:30 a.m., court records show.

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