Homicide victim near Airway Heights was shooter’s son

January 14, 2013 3:40 p.m. - Updated: January 15, 3:26 p.m.

A man killed on Sunday morning north of Airway Heights was shot in the face by his father, according to court records.

The shooting took place during an early-morning argument after a night of drinking, records say.

Mark A. Cavazos Sr., 53, appeared today in Spokane County Superior Court on the charge of second-degree murder. Judge James Triplet ordered Cavazos – who has no prior felony record – held on a $100,000 bond.

According to court records, Cavazos was at his home at 4020 N. Garfield Road with his 31-year-old son, James Cavazos, when the elder Cavazos pulled a gun following a prolonged argument.

“Mark (Cavazos) pointed the gun at James and said he never intended to pull the trigger and that it just went off,” Spokane County Sheriff’s Detective Craige Pannell wrote.

When deputies responded to a 911 call at about 4:23 a.m., they found Cavazos standing on the porch with a long wooden stick in one hand and a cell phone in the other. He was overheard saying. “I didn’t mean it, it was an accident,” Pannell wrote.

Deputies found blood on the porch and James Cavazos laying face up in a pool of blood in the kitchen.

“Mark made the statement, ‘Ok, I’ll cooperate, I just shot my son,’” according to court records.

James Cavazos’ girlfriend, Misty Beaumont, told detectives that they went to the Garfield Road home at about 8 p.m. Saturday to visit with Mark Cavazos, but the father and son began to argue.

“Mark and James Cavazos were in the hot tub and had been drinking alcohol when Misty was tired of the arguing so she told them to ‘just go to bed,’” Pannell wrote.

Beaumont left the two men and went sledding. She returned sometime later to find the men continuing to argue and noticed that James Cavazos had blood on his face. She left to go to a neighbor’s house when she heard a single gunshot, according to court records.

Mark Cavazos called 911 to report the shooting. After talking to witnesses, deputies took him to the Spokane County Jail where detectives interviewed him about 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

“He was visibly upset and crying,” Pannell wrote. “Before he could be asked any questions, Mark made the unsolicited statement, ‘I don’t know if I should have a lawyer here or not, all I know is that it was an accident, it wasn’t meant to happen.’”

During the interview, Mark Cavazos admitted shooting his son “but said it was because James was acting crazy and he was scared,” Pannell wrote.

The father and son were arguing in the kitchen and Mark Cavazos said he told James that he needed to leave.

“Mark said that for some reason or another he got his gun, went back in and told James to settle down,” Pannell wrote. Mark pointed the gun and it discharged, hitting his son in the face.

The son fell to the floor and his father tried to help, but was unable to do anything, according to court records. At that point in the interview, Mark Cavazos said he wanted an attorney and the interview ended.

In court today, Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor John Love asked Judge Triplet to hold Cavazos on a $500,000 bond, but Public Defender Aaron Rasmussen pointed out that Mark Cavazos has no prior felony convictions and that he was working with investigators.

“He actually called 911 himself and cooperated with police after the accident,” Rasmussen said. “Nothing in his life up to this point suggests he is a danger to the community.”

Rasmussen said Mark Cavazos has been living on disability payments following back surgery that caused nerve damage.

The judge said the seriousness of the offense warranted a bond of $100,000; he set the arraignment for Jan. 22 at 10 a.m.

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