Three men arrested in drive-by shooting

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Three young men were arrested after a drive-by shooting in Veguita on Jan. 23.

Arturo Macias, 18, the alleged shooter, was charged with two counts of shooting at an inhabited dwelling or occupied building, two counts of shooting from a motor vehicle, and one count each for conspiracy, negligent use of a deadly weapon while under the influence of an intoxicant or narcotic and unlawful possession of a handgun by a person less than 19.

Macias had a preliminary hearing in Socorro Magistrate Court on Wednesday and the case was bound over to district court.

Jose Savinas, 19, and Jaime F. Almeida-Rodriguez, 18, were each charged with two counts of being an accessory to shooting at an inhabited dwelling or occupied building, two counts of being an accessory to shooting from a motor vehicle and one count of conspiracy. Both men bonded out and are scheduled for a first hearing in Magistrate Court on Feb. 16.

All three men reside in Veguita.

According to the criminal complaints, a 17-year-old girl called 911 at about 10 p.m. to report that several shots had been fired at her home on Tamarack Road from a white pickup truck. A short time later, the truck returned and more shots were fired at the mobile home.

About one-half hour later while on patrol in the area, Socorro County Sheriff’s deputies James Nance and Manuel Monte spotted a pickup truck matching the description and made a felony stop. After questioning by deputies, the men were transported to the Socorro County Detention Center and booked.

Chief Deputy Preciliano “Shorty” Vaiza said the men admitted their involvement.

“The guys were real cooperative,” he said. “They told the deputies where the gun was. We had no problem with them during the arrest.”

A case of beer was found inside the truck and Vaiza said that Macias admitted to consuming several beers before the shooting. A small .22 caliber pistol, apparently owned by Macias, was also recovered from the truck.

Vaiza said Almeida-Rodriguez had been involved in a fight with the girl’s husband earlier in the day. Almeida-Rodriguez allegedly picked up Macias and Savinas in his Ford F-150 and drove by the home when the first set of shots were fired. They picked up another man, who was not charged, and drove by again and Macias fired several more shots, Vaiza said.

One .22 shell casing was found in the road in front of the residence, according to the report.

“One bullet entered the east side of the house, passed through three walls and into another trailer,” Vaiza said. “It’s lucky no one was hurt.”

Vaiza said it’s not unusual to receive shots fired calls from Veguita, but usually it’s people shooting guns at inanimate targets or in the air.

“We haven’t had a drive-by in Veguita in quite a while. This is the first time in a long time that it was at a dwelling,” he said.

Vaiza said the Sheriff’s Department stepped up patrols in the area last spring.

“We have our guys out there constantly. Not a day goes by that we don’t have somebody patrolling the area — day and night,” he said.

 


-- Email the author at tslast@dchieftain.com.