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Death ruled a homicide

PRINCETON — A Spring Valley man’s death was ruled a homicide by a Bureau County coroner’s jury on Friday afternoon.

A six-member coroner’s jury said the death of 23-year-old Kyle Zinzer of Spring Valley was a homicide. The jury deliberated only a few minutes before issuing its decision.

Adam Curran of the Spring Valley Police Department testified at the inquest. He said he responded to a call at 2:34 p.m. on Jan. 4 at the residence of Angel E. Moreno, who was living at 127 W. Minnesota St. in Spring Valley. Upon arrival at the scene, Curran said he found Zinzer not breathing with an apparent gunshot would to the leg. Because of circumstances found in the condition of Zinzer’s body, Curran believed he had been dead for several hours.

Curran said Moreno had made the 911 call. A crime scene technician was brought in to help with the investigation. Upon questioning, Curran said Moreno changed his story several times regarding the gunshot wound and subsequent death of Zinzer. Curran said Moreno finally said the two — Zinzer and himself — were toying around with a shotgun, and it went off, hitting Zinzer in the leg. Curran speculated the actual gunshot wound happened around 5 or 6 a.m.

Following the gunshot, Curran said the two men either went to sleep or passed out from alcohol consumption. Curran said Moreno admitted when “he realized his friend had died, he took the gun to his grandmother’s (home).”

Bureau County Coroner Janice Wamhoff said she pronounced Zinzer dead at the scene, after which he was taken to St. Margaret’s Health in Spring Valley. She said the gunshot wound was in Zinzer’s thigh. Toxicology reports determined Zinzer’s blood alcohol level (BAC) was .390 — five times over the legal limit.

Moreno’s BAC was never tested, since it had been several hours between Zinzer’s death and the time Moreno made the 911 call.

A pretrial is set for Monday.

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