LITTLE ROCK — A Little Rock man who was shot in the face during a Sunday afternoon argument over a woman in a southwest Little Rock trailer park remained in critical condition Tuesday.
The man who fired the gun, Bernabe Ceja of the Southern Pines Mobile Home park at 9500 S. Heights Road, was arrested at his trailer and charged with aggravated assault and first-degree battery in the shooting of Uber Mendoza-Perez.
Ceja pleaded innocent in Little Rock District Court on Monday morning. According to his affidavit of arrest, Ceja claimed he fired the gun in self-defense and didn’t mean to shoot the man.
Ceja, 26, told detectives he had been getting death threats from his ex-wife’s new husband, Roberto Cardenas, for several months.
Earlier Sunday, Ceja said Cardenas, 36, who also lived at the trailer park, pulled a gun on him inside the park. Ceja said that while he was eating in his truck that afternoon, Cardenas approached him again and started pushing him, the affidavit said.
Ceja, who was on crutches after a work-related injury, told detectives a friend gave him a black pistol and Ceja said “he shot at the ground toscare [Cardenas] because he felt threatened.”
The shot hit another Southern Pines resident, Mendoza-Perez, 35, in the face and, according to detectives, the round was lodged near the man’s spine.
Ceja’s ex-wife, and the mother of his child, Michelle Bradfield Cardenas, ran up to him, pulled the gun from him and tossed it behind one of the trailers.
According to Roberto Cardenas, 36, he and Ceja were arguing over Michelle Cardenas, and Roberto Cardenas told Ceja to stay away from her before Ceja pulled out a handgun and fired.
Michelle Cardenas told detectives she was pulling into the complex when she spotted her husband and ex-husband arguing. After she saw Ceja shoot at her husband, she “ran over to intervene” and Ceja, expressing remorse by saying “what have I done” over and over, told her to get rid of the gun.
Ceja requested that the Mexican consulate be notified and told detectives that if he was released from jail, he would likely “go back to Mexico.”
Detectives consider him a flight risk, the affidavit said.
Ceja remained at the Pulaski County jail Tuesday night in lieu of a $30,000 bond.