Gun-wielding homeowner stops armed burglary

Steve Garrison,
Gabriel Lorenzo Aranda

FARMINGTON — San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen congratulated a resident who recently used a firearm to defend his home during an armed burglary.

Deputies were dispatched at 9:09 p.m. on June 22 to a residence on County Road 5211 after receiving reports of a burglary in progress, according to arrest records.

At the residence, deputies found 21-year-old Gabriel Aranda pinned to the ground by homeowner William Gunter, records state.

Gunter told police he and his wife were at the residence when two masked men attempted to force entry into their home. He said he grabbed a shotgun from a nearby closet when he heard a window shatter, according to records. One of the men came in through the window and pointed a handgun at Gunter, who said he then realized his shotgun was unloaded, records state.

After a tense standoff, Gunter said he was able to knock the gun out of the man's hand and wrestle him to the ground, according to records. Deputies at the scene learned the weapon was actually a BB gun, records state.

The sheriff's office posted a press release to Facebook Wednesday about the burglary.

"This is a good example of citizens using their 2nd Amendment right to protect themselves and their families," Christesen said in a statement.

Aranda was charged June 23 in Aztec Magistrate Court with aggravated burglary, assault with intent to commit a violent felony and two petty misdemeanors.

Aranda's attorney, Scott Johnson, did not respond Thursday to a request for comment.

Aranda's cash-only bond was set at $50,000.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.