San Angelo Man Indicted for Shooting Death While 'Mock Clearing' Residence


SAN ANGELO  — A San Angelo man faces charges of Manslaughter after allegedly fatally shooting a woman with an AR-15 rifle during what authorities describe as a "mock clearing" of his residence.

Benjamin Ibarra, 23, of San Angelo, was indicted by a Tom Green County grand jury following the incident that occurred on November 20, 2023.

According to San Angelo police, officers responded to a call reporting a shooting victim in the 5900 block of Willeke Drive. The victim, identified as Samantha Ibarra, had sustained a gunshot wound and was rushed to Shannon Medical Center, where she later died from her injuries. Benjamin Ibarra was detained at the scene.

Witnesses reported that Ibarra and another individual were handling an AR-15 rifle equipped with a laser light attachment, which they were testing after installing a new battery. Ibarra, in possession of the rifle, purportedly engaged in a simulated house clearing exercise, during which the weapon discharged, striking the victim in the living room.

The firearm, investigators noted, did not contain a magazine at the time of the discharge, but a single round was chambered. Despite efforts to save her life, Samantha Ibarra succumbed to her injuries.

In a Mirandized interview, Benjamin Ibarra claimed he had assumed the weapon was unloaded when he received it from the witness. He asserted that during the mock clearing, he pulled the trigger believing the gun to be devoid of ammunition.

Ibarra, a former member of the United States Marine Corps, referenced his familiarity with firearms and recent training at a gun range, where he, the victim, and the witness had received instruction on firearm safety measures.

A subsequent search of the residence uncovered the AR-15 rifle with no magazine present and a spent cartridge in the kitchen.

Following his arrest on November 20, 2023, Ibarra was released on $100,000 bond the next day. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 2, 2024, with a jury trial set for August 19, 2024.

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