By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
Police say a 34-year-old Curry County man ejected from a party returned with a knife, only to have his nose bitten off in a struggle with other partygoers.
But Gilbert Aburto says the police have the story all wrong. He says he’s the victim, that he was trying to wrestle the knife away and the home invader bit his nose off during the struggle.
Clovis police Capt. Patrick Whitney said Aburto is now at a Lubbock hospital for treatment. He will require plastic surgery to reconstruct his nose, Whitney said.
“We have his nose in evidence,” Whitney said Tuesday, explaining the investigation is ongoing and interviews are still being conducted to determine what happened.
Police were called to a house in 100 block of Westerfield Place about 5 a.m. Sunday. A caller told dispatch the victim was being held down, records show.
Whitney said when police arrived, Aburto had fled the scene. He turned up later at Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis seeking treatment.
Whitney said Aburto’s nose might have been saved had he not fled. Instead, valuable time was lost and it couldn’t be re-attached.
Police now have the nose refrigerated for possible DNA testing.
Witnesses told police Aburto was at the residence for a party but was told to leave. They said Aburto returned and broke into the home, grabbing a knife.
Even after several people pinned him to the ground, Whitney said witnesses reported he would not let go of the knife, so someone bit him in the nose.
Aburto says the police version of the story is the complete reverse of what actually happened. He says a man was told to leave, but returned and was wielding a knife. Aburto says he was trying to wrestle the knife away from the man. But the man leaned over and bit off his nose.
No one has been charged and police are still attempting to determine who might be charged.
Aburto may bear responsibility despite his injury, Whitney said.
“The issue is that according to the witness statements, when he broke his way back into the house, then that is a burglary, a home invasion,” Whitney said. “Then he got hold of a knife and they pinned him and he wouldn’t drop the knife.
“It could be justifiable to bite his nose when he’s got a knife,” Whitney said.
“Biting, that would not be considered over the top when somebody’s got a deadly weapon like a knife.”