Matias Mondragon (No. 17): Did Matt Weber kill him near Night Owl Lounge because he was gay?

Yesterday, we told you about the arrest of Matt Weber in a fatal stabbing at Broomfield's Night Owl Lounge. The victim has now been identified as Matias Mondragon, 31, of Taos, New Mexico, whose family suspects that he may have been targeted because he was a homosexual. And indeed, the police report from the incident certainly suggests that sexual identification may have been a factor. But there are conflicting reports about who called who gay.

Today's Denver Post features an interview with Angel Mondragon, Matias's niece, who says her family has heard stories that her uncle may have been harassed on the night in question for being gay.

In contrast, the Boulder Daily Camera quotes a police report in which Weber gives his side of the story, and it's both very different and quite inconsistent. The article points out that Weber confessed to stabbing Mondragon, but initially claimed he'd attacked only after Mondragon produced a gun. He eventually retracted this claim.

His subsequent story? Weber, who was at the Night Owl with a girlfriend and a pal, Matthew Bufe, said Mondragon began calling him and Bufe "fags." According to Weber, he responded by flipping off Mondragon and leaving with his party. At that point, Weber continued, Mondragon followed and hit Bufe in the head with a bottle. He added that Mondragon then began advancing toward him. The stabbing followed, presumably in self-defense.

The credibility of this account was questioned by witnesses at the scene, the Camera noted. They said Mondragon pushed Bufe to the ground in the Night Owl parking lot before running to a nearby gas station with Weber in hot pursuit.

Given the publicity surrounding the police attack on Michael DeHerrera, and hints at a press event earlier today that the incident may have had something to do with DeHerrera's homosexuality, the contradictions between statements by Weber and Mondragon's niece stand in stark relief.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts