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Pueblo police department increasing safety measures at the Chile and Frijoles Festival

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO)-- Last year, the Chile and Frijoles Festival shut down early after shots were fired.

On September 25th, 2021, officers from the Pueblo Police Department (PPD) responded to the 100 block of S. Union Ave. on reports of a shooting during the Pueblo Chile and Frijoles Festival.

According to a witness KRDO spoke with Saturday, Melissa Porterfield, a woman who had a booth at the festival, said she saw the man get shot.

"We still had a line here. But at the shaved ice trailer, it was starting to cool down. So I didn't really have a line, so I was just sort of staring out people watching and all of a sudden I heard two guys start to argue and sort of push back and forth and I heard the first shot," said Porterfield

At the scene, PPD found one man who had been hit by gunfire and shut down the festival.

"Definitely didn't think that there was going to be a shooting, not something I would thought I would see in my lifetime," said Porterfield.

According to police, the initial investigation revealed a disturbance between two men happened. That's when one of the men shot multiple times at the other.

On September 26th, 2021, PPD identified the suspect as 18-year-old Victor Villalobos. Police obtained an Attempted 1st Degree Murder arrest warrant for Villalobos.

"I'm a little bit nervous just because I am not sure what safety measures they have in place. I know last year they, you know, they were like wanding people as they walked in and checking their bags. But after a certain point in the day, they stopped doing that," said Porterfield.

PPD said they're increasing their safety measures this year, but not necessarily because of this incident.

"We just re-assess our plans every year, see what we want to do differently, see what we're going to do differently, and do it accordingly," said Frank Ortega, Pueblo Police Sergeant.

PPD will have extra protocols surrounding the festival. They will also have officers in uniforms as well as undercover cops patrolling the area.

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Barbara Fox

Barbara is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO

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