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Shooting treated as homicide

Clovis Police officer Dave Wetmore investigates the scene of a shooting Wednesday in the 1700 block of Gidding Street. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

A Clovis man was found shot to death on Wednesday morning at his residence at 1725 Gidding St., police said.

Police said they are investigating the death as a homicide. No arrests had been made late Wednesday night.

It is unclear when Michael Binder, 41, died, but police said they received a report of shots fired in the area about 10 p.m. on Monday.

Police said they cruised the area where the complaint came from, but did not see anything unusual.

After patrolling the area, the responding police officer went to assist another nearby unit on an unrelated call, Deputy Chief of Police R.E. Bartosiewicz said.

“He went up to do a neighborhood check, but (the callers) were on Axtel Street, not Gidding Street,” Bartosiewicz said.

Binder’s body was discovered about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday when a co-worker came to the residence looking for him, police Detective Roger Grah said.

The neighbor who first called police Monday night, former Clovis police officer Terry Curry, said he jumped out of bed when he heard a gunshot. He said he picked up his cell phone and a rifle, went downstairs and called police. During his phone call his wife heard a second shot, he said.

Curry said he went to the alley between Gidding and Axtel streets and then proceeded through his house to his front yard. Still holding his weapon, Curry said he noticed a police unit drive by with its search lights on.

Curry said the unit then drove to the end of the block and met another unit in the area.

Seeing the two units together, Curry said he believed they had the situation under control and he did not contact police again.

“Police don’t have enough time to knock on enough doors. That is a fact,” said Curry, who also worked as a Curry County sheriff's deputy in the early 1990s. “This guy might still be alive if they could have investigated it further. They were on calls left and right; I have a scanner, I know.”

Bartosiewicz said the officer who responded to the scene was in the midst of several calls and proceeded to assist a nearby unit immediately after his neighborhood check.

“They just continued on jumping through hoops that night,” Bartosiewicz said.

The first shot sounded muffled, Curry said, which he believes to mean the shooting happened indoors.

Binder’s mother, Sue Binder, said her son had visited her at her home in Ralls, Texas, just a few days ago. He visited his parents once or twice a month, she said. He was a good son who never let the circumstances of life bring him down, she said.

“He had been a diabetic ever since he was 2 1/2 years old,” his mother said. “Mike never, never complained. He just wasn’t a complainer. He went on with his life and made the best of it.”

Despite having diabetes, Binder played football, ran track and played basketball at Guthrie High School in Guthrie, Texas, she said.

Clovis police blocked off at least two blocks of Gidding Street on Wednesday morning when the victim was found. By Wednesday afternoon, the New Mexico State Police crime lab was conducting the crime scene investigation that would continue late into the evening, Grah said. He said it would be beneficial to allow state police officers to handle the crime scene investigation from start to finish.

Until the crime scene investigation is finished, police won’t have information on how or why the slaying occurred, Grah said. He said it could be early this morning before the crime scene investigation is complete.

A gun was found in the residence, but it was not clear who it belonged to or if it was used in the slaying, Grah said. Grah said he didn’t believe the incident was a suicide.

If the shooting is declared a homicide, it will be Clovis’ eighth slaying this year and the ninth in Curry County in as many months.