She called him “Apa” all the time, a loving form in Spanish for “papa.” He took care of her as if she was his own child — she was his 18-year-old stepdaughter.
Fredy Argueta Cabrera had brought Douglas Menjivar, the man he allegedly killed on July 31, from El Salvador a while ago to work with him, according to employees at El Horizonte in Carbondale, the restaurant Argueta Cabrera owns. The pair used to go shopping together to Denver and Menjivar ran Argueta Cabrera’s new store Compu Copy next to his restaurant in Carbondale.
“It’s like the devil possessed him,” said a shocked Flor Mariche a worker at El Horizonte restaurant in Carbondale. Mariche has known Argueta Cabrera for six years.
“He was perfectly fine in the afternoon, I saw him here [at the restaurant] and then this happens…”
The next employee to work told co-workers that Argueta Cabrera appeared to have been drinking when he saw him.
Argueta Cabrera was being held in the Garfield County Jail as of Friday afternoon with no bail on charges of first degree murder, first degree assault, reckless endangerment and prohibited use of a weapon in connection with the Wednesday night shooting incident, according to court documents.
One of the shots fired during the incident also hit Argueta Cabrera’s stepdaughter, Leydy Trejo, in the leg. Argueta Cabrera’s wife, Vilma, has been with her daughter in Denver where she underwent surgery. According to Fabio Carvajal, Argueta Cabrera’s brother-in-law, Trejo seemed to be recovering on Thursday.
“This is out of character. Fredy isn’t a violent person,” said Carvajal, who is married to Argueta Cabrera’s sister and has known him for 12 years. “He is a quiet person. Peaceful.”
Mariche said she was stunned when she heard the news of the shooting Thursday morning. In the years she has worked with Argueta Cabrera, who turned himself to police Thursday afternoon in Mesa County, she said he never seemed violent. She didn’t know he owned a gun, she said. And above all, he seemed to care a lot for his stepdaughter, Leydy, a senior at Basalt High School, and his other three children. The family lives in Blue Lake.
“He is a great dad and a good person who cares about other people and always tries to help people in need,” Mariche said Thursday while managing El Horizonte in Carbondale.
But Mariche said things changed a little bit when Leydy moved in with Menjivar eight days before the shooting.
“He [Argueta Cabrera] kept saying, ‘Now she’s going to get married’.”
Carvajal said Argueta Cabrera seemed to have a good relationship with his stepdaughter and that he might have been a little overprotective of her when it came to dating.
“La celaba, la celaba mucho,” he said.
Alice Furlong, 16, who started working at the restaurant to replace Leydy a few weeks ago, said Argueta Cabrera told her “she shouldn’t move with her boyfriend.”
“He told me, ‘You have to finish school’,” she said while she worked at the restaurant Thursday night.
Menjivar was Leydy’s second boyfriend, Mariche said, adding he was a really nice guy who didn’t drink or smoke.
“Fredy brought him here. He liked him. He worked here in the kitchen last year and he seemed a peaceful person,” she said.
Mariche said Menjivar’s roommate told her, Menjivar and Leydy were returning from a visit to his father and when they stepped out of the car in the parking area next to where they lived outside Glenwood Springs, the shooting happened. He found Menjivar face down on the ground and said he died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital after receiving five gunshots.
“The problem was she fell in love with him [Menjivar],” Mariche said.
Friends said Thursday that as she woke up after her surgery, Leydy kept asking about Menjivar
“How is he?”
Nobody told her he had died.