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Man gets 12 years in shooting of 3-year-old girl

Guadalupe Jose Villanueva pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree assault with a deadly weapon in the December 2020 shooting of the toddler and a man.

DENVER — A 21-year-old man charged in a December 2020 double shooting in Denver that left a then 3-year-old girl seriously injured was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty, court records show.

Guadalupe Jose Villanueva pleaded guilty on March 23, 2022, to second-degree assault with a deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury. Additional charges including multiple counts of first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault were dismissed by the Denver District Attorney's Office.

Denver Police Department (DPD) said officers responded around 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 28 to 2969 South Federal Boulevard for reports of a shooting and discovered a child and a man with gunshot wounds.

> The video above is from January 2021 when Villanueva was arrested.

The child was hit by gunfire, and remained in critical condition for at least a month after the shooting but did survive. The man was hit and injured but later released from the hospital, DPD said.

The man reported seeing a vehicle parked in a handicapped parking spot with its tire up on a curb and started taking pictures. As he was taking pictures, Villanueva who had been driving the car came out of a business and began firing gunshots towards the man, according to DPD.

The young child was sitting inside a van in the parking lot when she was hit by gunfire. DPD said they don't believe the child was targeted and said the child was there with family to pick up food.

Credit: Denver Police
A photo of the suspect's vehicle.


PREVIOUS: Suspect in shooting of Denver toddler arrested at US border

Villanueva was taken into custody a month later in El Paso, Texas after community tips helped investigators identify him as the suspect, DPD said. 

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) said Villanueva was arrested while entering the country from Mexico. CBP said officers encountered a 2008 Toyota Camry with four people inside and determined that one of the occupants was "a wanted armed and dangerous fugitive."

The man was identified as Villanueva, who is a U.S. citizen, according to CBP.

“CBP officers are diligently working to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats,” said CBP El Paso Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha. “On a daily basis CBP officers identify and apprehend people who are being sought by law enforcement. Some seek sanctuary across the border but when they return to the U.S. history has shown that they will be stopped by CBP officers.”

PREVIOUS: 'She's a little warrior': Toddler's family asks for help finding man who shot her

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