Correction: This story has been updated to reflect what bond was set at for each of the two people who have been charged. Avila had bond set at $100,000 and Marquez is being held without bond.
According to the documents, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office responded to the bar at 16005 Mount Vernon Road around 1:45 a.m. Sunday after callers reported that several people had been hit in the parking lot by a white pickup truck.
When deputies arrived on the scene, they said they found five people with injuries in the dirt parking lot south of Rock Rest.
Who were the victims?
One of the victims was pronounced dead and another four were hurt.
The man who died has been identified as Adrian Ponce, 26. Ponce’s family created a GoFundMe to help raise money for funeral and memorial expenses.
Ponce’s wife told FOX31 that he loved his family.
“He went out just to have fun for one night because of how hard-working he is. And the one night he goes out, he died,” Ponce’s wife, Ashlie Pena, said emotionally.
In July, Ponce appeared on FOX31 trying to help his brother, who has autism and was violently stabbed on an RTD bus.
“We are overwhelmed. What’s next? What’s next?” Ponce’s mother said as she fought back tears.
Ponce’s family says they will fight for justice in the case that stole the life of a man they loved so much.
The sheriff’s office named four other people who were hurt during the incident, including two Rock Rest employees:
- Angel Estrada, 28, Ponce’s brother: bruises
- Michael Gause, 28, Rock Rest employee: spine fractures, broken pelvis, head wounds that required 47 staples
- Robert Fulcomer, 52, Rock Rest employee: bruised spine
- Ronnie Fisher, 27, Rock Rest patron: numerous abrasions
Who drove into the crowd?
Other deputies who arrived in the area noticed a white truck matching the description of the truck involved in the incident turn onto westbound 10th Avenue from southbound Mount Vernon Road. The deputies, assisted by the Colorado State Patrol, stopped the truck.
At the time, deputies said Ernesto De Jesus Avila, 25, was in the driver’s seat of the truck. He was also the registered owner of the truck.
Avila, along with his two passengers, Ruben Marquez, 29, and an unidentified man, were taken into custody.
Arrest documents showed that Avila had bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech, and the odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. When asked, deputies said Avila told them he drank at least four drinks earlier in the evening.
Based on witness descriptions of the incident, investigators believe Marquez was the one who drove the truck into the crowd, but at some point before it was pulled over switched places with Avila.
Marquez is facing charges of first-degree murder, vehicular homicide, first-degree assault and second-degree assault. Avila is facing charges of accessory to first-degree murder and accessory to first and second-degree assault.
What led up to the incident?
Several witnesses were interviewed following the incident. They told deputies that two groups of people were fighting in the parking lot around the bar’s closing time.
Some witnesses told deputies the incident started over gang issues, the document said. After that, some of the people involved in the fight got into a white truck and the truck started driving into the crowd, hitting several people.
The sheriff’s office said at least three of the witnesses told detectives it appeared as though the white truck was deliberately and intentionally driven into the group of people.
Marquez appeared in court on Monday morning. He is being held without bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 14.
Avila also appeared in court Monday and had bond set at $100,000, which he posted the same day. He set to appear in court next on Oct. 14.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
FOX31’s Vicente Arenas contributed to this report.