Belen man indicted for shooting estranged wife

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A 31-year-old Belen man was indicted on charges including aggravated battery, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and three counts of and child abuse following an incident where police said he shot his estranged wife in the abdomen last month.

Police said Pio Aquino, 31, shot his 31-year-old wife, Maria Aquino, in the abdomen at close range after the two got into an argument over their children at the La Villa Belen Apartments.

Police said the woman is in the process of getting a divorce from Pio Aquino, who was dropping off two of the children at the woman's home on the 1000 block of Aragon Road on Jan. 28.

Two of the couple's children were in the same room as their parents when Aquino allegedly fired one shot with his .38-caliber revolver, according to Belen Police Chief Dan Robb.

The woman underwent surgery at an Albuquerque hospital. She was released last Thursday.

He was initially charged with two counts of child abuse in addition to the other charges.

Earlier this week, Belen police traveled to Las Cruces and conducted additional interviews with all three of the children.

Robb said the children told police about multiple incidents where their mother and father got into physical confrontations.

Regarding the January incident, the couple's 12-year-old daughter said her father took out the gun from his waist area and pointed it at her mother's head, following an argument that started in one of the bedrooms.

The girl told police that she went to hide in a bathroom and shortly after heard a loud bang. She came out to find her mother lying face down in the living room. No one else was injured in the incident.


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.