Authorities in New Mexico said Thursday that two people were arrested in connection with a shooting outside an Albuquerque baseball stadium earlier this month that left an 11-year-old boy dead and another victim critically injured.
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said at a news conference that Jose Romero, 22, and Nathen Garley, 21, have been charged in connection with the shooting immediately after the Albuquerque Isotopes game on Sept. 6, which left 11-year-old Froylan Villegas dead and left his cousin, Tatiana Villegas, paralyzed from the waist down.
“These cowards thought they were tough. They killed an innocent child,” the police chief said during the news conference, saying the shooting appeared to be a case of “mistaken identity.”
Police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos added later that Romero and Garley had a feud during the baseball game with a man who drove a white Dodge pickup truck. Police said they pursued the wrong pickup and shot at a truck belonging to the Villegas family,
SHOOTING OUTSIDE ALBUQUERQUE BASEBALL STADIUM LEAVES 11-YEAR-OLD DEAD, WOMAN INJURED
Froylan Villegas, 11, seen here, was killed and his cousin, Tatiana Villegas, was left partially paralyzed following a shooting on Sept. 6, 2023. (Albuquerque Police Department)
“It is our belief that these cowards mixed up the two vehicles and shot into the wrong vehicle,” the police chief said.
Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina said two suspects were arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of 11-year-old Froylan Villegas. (KRQE)
“Investigators used cellphone data and social media to track the movements of several individuals,” Gallegos added. “The day after the shooting, the man who was feuding with Romero sent him a message on Instagram indicating they shot at the wrong truck.”
The shooting prompted New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to issue a controversial order suspending the right to carry firearms in public in and around Albuquerque.
TWO WOMEN INJURED IN ‘SHOOTING INCIDENT’ AT WHITE SOX BALLPARK DURING GAME
Police Chief Medina said Romero was taken into custody on Thursday evening and clarified that Garley was arrested last week.
The Albuquerque Police Department released a photo of the white truck, left, and the assailants’ Dodge Durango SRT, right. (Albuquerque Police Department)
Romero was wanted for failing to appear in court in connection with a previous drug-related offense, Medina said.
Garley was detained by state police on Sept. 13 after authorities found him returning from Arizona with a gun and about 100,000 fentanyl tablets in the car, State Police Chief W. Troy Weisler said at the news conference.
The law enforcement officers said both men are members of a local gang and that further investigation linked them to the shooting.
According to the Albuquerque police, the men followed a white pickup that pulled out of the stadium parking lot and fired guns from their black Dodge Durango SRT.
The bullets narrowly missed the boy’s mother and his infant brother, who were also inside the truck, Gallegos said.
A shooting after the Albuquerque Isotopes game earlier this month left Froylan Villegas, 11, dead and his cousin critically injured. (Minor League Baseball)
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Last week, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order to block the governor’s order.
U.S. District Judge David Urias said that the governor’s order was likely to cause irreparable harm to people deprived of the right to carry a gun in public for self-defense. Grisham then amended it to apply only to public parks and playgrounds where children and their families gather.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
2 arrested in drive-by shooting at New Mexico baseball stadium that killed 11-year-old boy: ‘Innocent child’
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