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RUPERT — A Rupert man is accused of shooting another man in the town of Minidoka April 28 and also of shooting the man’s daughter in the hand and threatening to kill her.

Rafael Gil Vargas, 43, of Minidoka, later died at the hospital.

Denis O. Lopez-Serrano, 22, of Rupert, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and two counts of first-degree kidnapping. He is set to be arraigned on the charges Monday in Minidoka County Magistrate Court.

Police say Lopez-Serrano lured the mother of his child, Nallely Vargas Juarez, 19, of Minidoka, saying he wanted her to pick up the child, but then fatally shot the woman’s father and shot her in the hand, according to court records.

Vargas Juarez told police she got a text from Lopez-Serrano saying she needed to come get her child, so she headed to Rupert from Minidoka. But then he sent another text saying he would keep the child, so she turned back toward Minidoka.

Before she got to Sears Street, Vargas Juarez told police, Lopez-Serrano and his friend stopped their car by pulling in front of them head-on. She said Lopez-Serrano got out of his friend’s vehicle and approached the car, pulling a handgun from his waistband and threatening them by pointing his gun at her and telling her to get out of the car.

Her father told her to call the police. Then, she said, Lopez-Serrano hit the car window with the gun breaking the window and then shot Vargas and shot Vargas Juarez in the hand.

Lopez-Serrano told her to get in the back seat of the car.

The woman said he drove them east of Minidoka where he told her he was going to dump her father’s body and then kill her. Lopez-Serrano’s friend followed them, she said.

She heard him ask the friend what he should do, to which the friend replied, “It’s up to you. You did this.”

Lopez-Serrano made her agree not to tell police that he shot them, court records said. Vargas Juarez said she could still hear her father breathing, so she agreed. Lopez-Serrano then took her phone and shot it, she said. Detectives later reported recovering the phone, which was in five pieces, and the gun.

Lopez-Serrano told the woman his friend would kill her and her family if she said anything to police, court records said. Lopez-Serrano’s friend told detectives he heard and saw Lopez-Serrano shoot them both.

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Afterward, Lopez-Serrano put the semi-automatic gun between the driver’s seat and the center console of his friend’s vehicle, court records said.

Minidoka County Sheriff Eric Snar declined to say whether the child was in either car during the shooting.

The Minidoka County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release they began investigating the case at about 10 p.m. Saturday.

Vargas was flown to Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, where he died of his injuries.

Vargas Juarez underwent surgery to repair the injury to her hand and was released Sunday.

The sheriff’s office said the case remains under investigation.


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