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A Colorado teenager who attempted to defend a waitress during an alleged dine-and-dash at a Mexican restaurant last week was shot and killed during a fight with the fleeing customers, according to authorities.
Rudy Arguello-Rios, 18, was fatally shot in the chest during the melee Dec. 22 after a large group of 10 tried to skip out on their bill, claiming that their food had been cold, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
As a physical fight between the large group, a waitress and other customers—including Rios—erupted outside the Mariscos El Rey restaurant in Aurora, authorities alleged Jacqueline De Paz opened fire, striking and killing the teenager.
The waitress had described Rios to Aurora Police as a “peacekeeper” who had been yelling at others to stop being rude and remain respectful, according to the court document.
Vikki Migoya, director of communications for the Office of the District Attorney, 18th Judicial District, told Oxygen.com that De Paz is now facing charges of second-degree murder and felony menacing with a real or simulated weapon. The 28-year-old is also facing two sentence enhancements including violent crime causing a death and violent crime with a weapon.
Migoya said the sentence enhancers would only come into play in the case if there is a guilty plea or guilty verdict against De Paz.
Aurora Police said the altercation began shortly after De Paz and a large group of others—which included two men, five women and three children—came into the restaurant to dine shortly after 7 p.m.
After eating their meals, a male and female from the group “complained loudly that the cold environment led to their food being cold” and said they wouldn’t pay for the meals.
According to affidavit, the waitress told the group that they had already eaten the food and that if they left without paying the bill, the restaurant would call the police.
Despite the warning, the group stood up and left the restaurant as the waitress and several coworkers followed behind. One of the restaurant employees used a cell phone to take pictures of the license plates of one of the vehicles the group was driving, which “apparently upset” two of the women in the group, according to the affidavit.
One witness later told police that after a “confrontation” began in the parking lot, two members of a neighboring table, including Rios, also went into the parking lot “to defend the waitress” and a physical fight broke out.
As the confrontation escalated, witnesses reported that De Paz pulled out a handgun, according to the affidavit.
Cell phone video obtained by authorities allegedly showed her pointing the gun with an outstretched hand and shouting “Back the f--- up! Back the f--- up!” before a female voice can be heard saying, “I got the strap now!”
Police said Rios attempted to grab the gun away and in a struggle to control the weapon, was struck by a bullet in the chest.
Rios was transferred to a local hospital, but lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful. According to the autopsy, the teenager died from a single gunshot wound to the left side of his chest just below his clavicle, the affidavit stated.
Authorities said Da Paz fled the scene but investigators were later able to identify her as the suspect in the shooting after reviewing video footage, talking with witnesses at the scene, reviewing social media and accessing vehicle registration records.
She was later arrested.
Migoya told Oxygen.com that Da Paz had her first appearance in court Monday. Her bond was not argued during the appearance and remains at $1 million.
Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 28.
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