An Ignacio man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison in connection with a drive-by shooting last summer on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.
Antonio Castro, 24, was driving a gold-colored van when he fired six shots from a 9 mm Luger handgun at an unarmed man standing in the street, according to court documents and a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Five of the six shots missed the victim, but one shot struck the man and shattered his elbow, causing significant injuries.
“As the victim lay bleeding in the street, Castro sped away in the van and later hid in the shower of a nearby friend’s house before being apprehended by officers with the Southern Ute Police Department,” according to the release.
The shooting occurred June 6 just north of the intersection of Shoshone Avenue and Empire Street near Ignacio. Castro was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn after pleading guilty to assault with intent to commit murder and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
He was facing 14 to 18 years after signing a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Durango.
In addition to serving 16 years in prison, Castro must serve three years on supervised release.
At the time of the shooting, Castro was on parole for felony burglary out of Alamosa County. According to a sentencing memorandum, a month after his 18th birthday, Castro beat a man with a baseball bat, burglarized his home and stole the victim’s sword.
Castro has spent more than 80% of his adult life incarcerated. He has also used methamphetamine his entire adult life, including near the time of the offense, according to a sentencing report signed by Jeffrey Graves, assistant U.S. attorney in Durango.
“The defendant’s decision to kill is the tragic climax of a remarkably serious criminal history for a 24-year-old,” the sentencing memo says.
Federal prosecutors were asking for 17½ years in prison, citing Castro’s prior criminal history and his effort to evade capture.
“In short, the defendant attempted to kill, fled, hid and tried to obstruct investigators,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo. “The defendant is lucky that he missed or he would be facing life in prison.”