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Boxer Charged With Assault

August 1, 2000

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) _ WBO bantamweight champion Johnny Tapia and another man were charged Monday with misdemeanors in connection with a shooting incident last month.

Alamogordo District Attorney Scot Key’s office said Tapia faces an assault charge stemming from a June 27 altercation with another motorist.

The district attorney’s office said the motorist, Allan Korzan of Ruidoso, faces a charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.

Tapia, a four-time world champion, was driving near Ruidoso when he was allegedly confronted by Korzan. Tapia’s wife and manager, Teresa, said the other motorist fired two shots at her husband.

The boxer’s wife and three others, including a 5-month-old girl, were also in the car at the time.

``The facts as I understand it is that Johnny was minding his own business during a leisurely drive near his residence,″ said Billy Blackburn, Tapia’s attorney. ``This other gentleman tried to run them off the road and when they tried to talk to him, he shot at them.″

Marc Prelo, a Ruidoso attorney who is representing Korzan, could not be reached Monday evening for comment.

After the shooting, Tapia followed the motorist to get his license plate number and vehicle description.

Blackburn said the assault charge against Tapia may have ``had to do with something after Johnny went to look for the gentleman to get his license plate number.″

``But all the witnesses I’ve talked to say he just got the guy’s license number and the description of the vehicle,″ Blackburn said.

Teresa Tapia, reached Monday by telephone, would not comment on the charges. However, in a written statement released Monday evening, she said her husband would fight the charge in court.

``Johnny, who should have been named as the victim, should be on the state’s witness list but now he’s also being charged with assault,″ Blackburn said. ``Maybe it’s not what you tell the police but it’s also who you are.″

Both men will be arraigned in Lincoln County in the next few weeks, Blackburn said.

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