Man’s nose bitten off in party fight

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico

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.”