By Roger Lanse

On Thursday, July 15, 2021, at approximately 12:08 a.m. a Silver City Police Department officer was waved down by a male the officer recognized as David Jennings, 45, no address, standing in the Laundryland parking lot on N. Hudson Street. Jennings told the officer he had been shot, and, according to an SCPD narrative, when Jennings lifted his shirt, the officer observed what appeared to be an entrance wound, bleeding and swollen.

Jennings told the officer he had been standing in the car wash bay pulling weeds when three subjects appeared in the ditch and one of them had a gun. The narrative stated Jennings said he heard a pop and felt pain in his stomach. The officer stated he immediately called for an ambulance. EMS determined there was no projectile in the wound.

Other officers began to walk the ditch, one south from the Visitor Center and another north from Old Mill Road. Three suspects were found lying face down in the ditch near Spring Street, the narrative said. They were Dillon Bittinger, 23, of Silver City; Gabrielle Parra, 23, of Albuquerque; and Brandon Durniak, 22, of Silver City. Also seized was a black Crosman F4 .177 caliber pellet rifle.

According to the narrative, Bittinger admitted the rifle was his and that he shot Jennings "because he was chasing them." Although officers didn't say so, they appeared skeptical of Bittinger's story. Bittinger was placed under arrest and after being transported to SCPD for paperwork, was booked into the Grant County Detention Center and charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery with a gun. Parra and Durniak were released at the scene. The rifle was logged into evidence.

According to GCDC staff, Bittinger was released on the 15th by Judge Laney on a $10,000 secured appearance bond.