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Woman shot at city transit station dies, hospital officials say

A Sierra Vista woman shot in the head last week by a friend she was dropping off at the city’s transit station has died, officials at a Tucson hospital said Monday.

Sylvia Sabo, 46, died on Sunday afternoon at Banner-University Medical Center Tucson, said hospital spokeswoman Rebecca Ruiz McGill.

Sabo was shot last Wednesday by 48-year-old James Romo, of Phoenix, Sierra Vista Police Sgt. Brian Sebastian said.

Sabo was dropping Romo off at the Vista Transit Station just before 3:30 p.m., when Romo turned to Sabo and shot her once in the head. Romo then shot himself in the head and died in the passenger seat of Sabo’s Volkswagen GTI, police said.

When officers arrived at the station at Coronado and Wilcox drives, Sabo was alive and was taken to Tucson.

Transit station supervisor Michael Normand said the arrival of the pair at the rear of the station was captured by surveillance cameras on the property.

“It appears that the male shot the female and then shot himself,” Normand said Thursday in an interview with the Herald/Review. “They were both in the car. She was in the driver’s seat, he was in the passenger seat.”

Maricopa County court records show Romo pleaded guilty to two criminal cases since 2007. The first was in August 2007 for a charge of assault-intent/reckless/injure. The second was in November 2017, for a charge of aggravated DUI.

Six days before the shooting, Romo also had a preliminary hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court for another aggravated DUI-license suspended case that occurred this past March, court records show. That case was still pending.

It’s not clear why Romo shot Sabo, police said last week. Facebook posts by friends of both show Sabo and Romo at a couple of social gatherings.

Sabo had been placed on life-support at the hospital. One of her friends, Ronda Byers, has launched a gofundme page for Sabo, titled Support for Sylvia. The goal is to raise $25,000 to help Sabo’s family with hospital and funeral expenses. So far, $1,470 has been collected, the page shows.

The gofundme page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/1s3ht2midc.

Mineral and gem show delights rockhounds

SIERRA VISTA — Rockhounds, prospectors and jewelers gathered at Cochise College last Saturday and Sunday for the 45th annual Huachuca Mineral, Gem and Jewelry Show.

Thirty-five vendors were on hand to answer questions and showcase collections of spectacular geodes, rich purple amethyst, calcite crystals, turquoise, handmade jewelry, and much more.

“Our show is going very well,” show coordinator Maudie Bailey said Saturday afternoon. “We have vendors from all over Arizona as well as California and New Mexico, and we even have a vendor from Texas. We get a good crowd through here, which is why our vendors come back every year.”

Along with opportunities to purchase items, attendees browsed through educational booths where they could ask questions and watch demonstrations.

Navajo artist Dennis Nofchissey — a silver and goldsmith from the Clifton/Morenci mining areas — attracted a steady stream of onlookers as he demonstrated his jewelry-making talents.

Nofchissey was assisted by two friends at his booth, brothers Johnny and Mike Saiz, both stonecutters.

“All three of us worked the mines in Morenci,” Johnny Saiz noted, while watching Nofchissey work on a bracelet. “Dennis does the silver work and Mike and I are the stonecutters. He has been a silversmith for about 40 years and his work is very well known.”

In fact, Nofchissey was invited to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he demonstrated his craft at the winter games.

“I was on Good Morning America and was interviewed by Al Roker, which was one of the highlights for me,” Nofchissey said. “It was an honor to meet him.”

Standing before a special display for “junior rockhounds,” 7-year-old Charlie LaMotte was kept busy demonstrating the “Claw Game” where kids were challenged to grab a piece of petrified wood from a box while using a claw machine.

“They get to keep the petrified wood they pull out of the box,” LaMotte said.

“We also have pieces of obsidian that we’re giving away,” he noted while pointing to a mound of dark-colored pebbles.

Composed of natural volcanic glass, obsidian, which is also known as Apache Tears, are round, shiny black stones.

Members of the Huachuca Prospectors Association (HPA) had an information booth where they provided materials about the organization and demonstrated how to pan for gold.

“We go on outings the third Saturday of the month, prospecting for gold,” said George Slovitsky, HPA secretary. “We go to the Santa Rita Mountains, do mine tours and take prospecting trips in Ash Canyon where our club owns three mine claims.”

The club also teaches classes at Cochise College where students learn about the history of prospecting, how to identify gold, types of rock formations associated with gold, as well as panning techniques and other methods for recovering gold, Slovitsky said.

“These classes are offered in April and September on the second and third Saturdays of the month. The first class is in a classroom, while the second is a field trip to the claim in Ash Canyon.”

While discovering gold is always a thrill, Slovitsky also noted that the prospectors association’s main goal is to bring people together to enjoy the outdoors.

At the conclusion of the two-day show, Bailey said feedback from attendees and vendors was positive, with every vendors pledging to return next year.

“We appreciate all the vendors that came in support of our show,” she said on Monday. “I’ve been coordinating this event for 10 years, and we always get wonderful participation from organizations like the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the U.S. Forest Service. Members of the Buena (High School) Robotics Club help us every year.

“And for the first time this year, Kartchner Caverns had a booth at our event, which made a nice addition to our show. We appreciate all the support, and want to extend a special thanks to Cochise College for allowing us to use their facility.”