Melrose man convicted of second degree assault

Gerardo Botello-Garcia, 23, Melrose, was convicted in Morrison County District Court April 3, with one felony count of second degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 15, 2012, the Morrison County Dispatch received a call from a “Sam” who said he had been shot. About 13 minutes later, dispatch received another call stating a man was banging on a resident’s patio door, saying he had been shot.

Officers arrived, made contact with the victim and recovered a Taurus 9mm pistol and a .22 caliber long rifle magazine. Before being air-lifted to the St. Cloud Hospital, the victim stated he did not fire his gun during the incident and that the person who shot him was Botello-Garcia.

Botello-Garcia was located in Melrose and taken to the Morrison County Jail.

In his statement, Botello-Garcia told officers he was giving the victim a ride to Upsala when they got stuck in snow. He said he told the victim, who had been driving, to get into the passenger seat and noticed a gun in his hand when he was approaching the vehicle. Botello-Garcia said when the victim pointed the gun at him, he put the car in reverse and hit the victim with the door, knocking him to the ground.

He told officers when the man again pointed the gun at him, he started shooting through the open passenger door.

Botello-Garcia said he was not sure if he hit the victim and that he drove away while the man was shooting at him.

He threw his gun away, abandoned the car and got a ride to Melrose. He said he did not have a cell phone to call police.

The shooting victim told police he had known Botello-Garcia for several months and had purchased methamphetamine from him. While going to Upsala to look at a trailer, Botello-Garcia stopped to make a phone call and told him to get into the passenger seat. He said when he did so, Botello-Garcia said to get out of the car and pointed a gun at him. When he tried to roll out of the car, he was shot with a gun he believe was stolen from him earlier in the day.

The victim said he pulled out his 9mm handgun and shot at the window of the vehicle. Botello-Garcia then drove away.

Botello-Garcia was sentenced to 36 months in prison, stayed for 10 years, given 110 days credit for time served and will have 10 years of supervised probation.

Assistant County Attorney Todd Kosovich said the felony charge of attempted murder was dismissed because Botello-Garcia pleaded guilty to second degree assault which was the court’s strongest count based on the available evidence.

Botello-Garcia has left the custody of Morrison County for another county and is facing deportation. He is in the United States legally, having immigrated with his family as a child.