By Roger Lanse

On Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, at about 1:16 p.m., Grant County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to 9375 Highway 180 in Cliff in reference to a domestic disturbance call. Deputies were advised by Grant County Regional Dispatch Authority dispatchers that a female had shot at a male who was physically abusing her.

When deputies arrived at the scene, according to a GCSO offense report, they found a 40-year-old female of the address and a 41-year-old male, identified as Joseph Hernandez of Silver City. One deputy talked to the female while another deputy interviewed the male.

The female victim stated, the report said, that after returning from Arizona with Hernandez and arguing the entire way, she found her backpack missing and wanted to retrace their route to look for it using Hernandez’ vehicle. He refused and tried to snatch his keys from her hand and a struggle ensued resulting in Hernandez punching her in the head causing her head to also hit the door jamb of the vehicle.  Deputies noticed swelling to the back of her head and her face was red. 

After this, the struggle in the vehicle became more serious, the victim said, and she swung her belt at him, the report stated. Hernandez retaliated by taking off his belt and hitting her in the back leaving a buckle-shaped welt and a small cut, which the deputy observed. The victim stated she was able to retrieve her gun from her purse and fired a shot, not at him, but to keep him from hurting her again.

Meanwhile, Hernandez said when they returned to the address from Arizona, the victim noticed her bag was missing and was going to take his vehicle to look for it. According to the report, Hernandez told the victim that he would take her to look for the bag, but she was not going to take his vehicle and he wanted his keys back. As he was attempting “to get his stuff back,” the victim took off her belt, the report said, and hit Hernandez with it. Hernandez then took off his belt and hit the victim leaving a large welt on her back.

After comparing notes on the interviews, deputies decided that Hernandez was the aggressor. He was handcuffed and taken into custody, charged with battery against a household member and transported to GCSO for paperwork. While at GCSO he began complaining of chest pain and numbness of body. He was examined by EMS and transported to Gila Regional Medical Center for further observation and later to the Grant County Detention Center.

According to GCDC staff, Hernandez remains in custody, bond to be determined.

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