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Authorities detail December shooting at hearing
Gunshot victim played dead in a ditch, according to testimony
Filiberto Aguirre-Gomez

A woman returning to a friend’s home later suffered a gunshot wound and played dead in a ditch, according to testimony Friday in Magistrate Court.

Filiberto Aguirre-Gomez, 44, of Flowery Branch, is charged with aggravated assault, reckless conduct and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime related to a Dec. 28 shooting.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Patrick Tolan testified Friday about being flagged down by a man in the 5000 block of Atlanta Highway.

“He advised that a female was shot and she was at the top of the driveway,” Tolan said.

The shot was through Tonya Sanford’s right upper torso entering from her back. The shirt over the wound, Tolan said, ended up catching most of the blood.

Tolan said he and others had information to believe the incident occurred over on Bailey Street around a mile away from the response scene.

Witnesses told authorities they saw a two-door, dark-colored pickup truck speed by around the time of the incident.

Aguirre-Gomez’s attorney, Walker Rick, focused his questions to Tolan on what made the truck notable in terms of looking out for the vehicle.

Investigator Joe Mariotti said Sanford had been over at Aguirre-Gomez’s home on Bailey Street, where Sanford had visited his estranged girlfriend and was helping her move out.

Sanford left to meet up with a boyfriend and a friend, and she told authorities she went back to the home with them to pick up the estranged girlfriend.

Mariotti said there were noticeable slip marks and other signs of a scuffle on the Bailey Street home’s driveway, where the investigator said Aguirre-Gomez allegedly got into a fight with Sanford’s boyfriend.

Witnesses told authorities they heard multiple shots and then a dispersing of people.

Mariotti said Sanford split off from her boyfriend.

“At that point, she was trying to hide when she saw Mr. Gomez’ Ford Ranger,” Mariotti said.

She was allegedly struck in the back by a bullet and played dead in a ditch, Mariotti said.

According to Aguirre-Gomez’s interview with police, he was punched by a stranger at his home before the alleged fight with Sanford’s girlfriend. He had a laceration above his eye.

“He said he was worried they were going to come back,” Mariotti said, referring to the men who allegedly hit Aguirre-Gomez at the door.

He said he only fired into the ground, though one witness told authorities he heard a bullet go past his head.

All of the counts moved on to Superior Court.

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