Criminal Justice

Criminal Defense Attorney Charged in Law Office Shooting; His Wife Recorded Incident on Cellphone

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A New Mexico criminal defense attorney has himself been criminally charged in a felony case after allegedly shooting a man in the leg Tuesday morning at or near his Albuquerque law office.

David “Chip” Venie and the injured man, who was identified as Stephen Biddinger, got into an argument before the shooting, according to the Albuquerque Journal (sub. req.) and KOB. It isn’t clear whether Biddinger was a client or otherwise was known to Venie.

Biddinger was reportedly hospitalized in stable condition after the incident at the Freedom Law Center. Robert Gibbs, a spokesman for the Albuquerque police department, said responding officers found Biddinger lying against the front door of the law office in a pool of blood.

Officials said Biddinger had refused to leave the premises. Meanwhile, a cellphone recording of the shooting by Venie’s wife reportedly showed Biddinger walking slowly toward Venie with his hands up, not holding any weapons.

The KOB article says Venie was charged with aggravated battery, but KRQE says he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Witnesses said Biddinger arrived at Venie’s law office, started arguing with him and was repeatedly told to leave by Venie.

The articles don’t include any comment from Venie or his counsel.

However, an earlier KOB article said Alicia Baca, who works at a different law office nearby, saw the alleged victim prior to the shooting and described him as “very angry and very upset.”

Baca, who works at the John James D’Amato law office, told the station “Our door’s always locked here. I peeked through the window, and I normally will go check it out and see what’s going on, but he looked pretty upset, so I just stayed looking through the window.”

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