Shooters dismissed without prejudice


Two men arrested for a shooting incident at Clarke Field on Aug. 12 were released from custody following their Magistrate Court preliminary examination Aug. 21 because witnesses did not testify.

According to the criminal complaints filed in Socorro Magistrate Court, Phillip Martinez, of Socorro, and Marcos Gutierrez, of Los Lunas, were each charged with aggravated battery, aggravated assault, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, child abuse, tampering with evidence and conspiracy.

Charges stem from incidents Aug. 12 when Martinez and Gutierrez allegedly threatened a Socorro man with a gun in the man's home, where the man's child was present, then later the same day shot the man's cousin and his pink Nissan truck near Clarke Field.

Socorro Police Department Chief George Van Winkle said the man in the pink truck drove himself to Socorro General Hospital for treatment of the gunshot wounds. Criminal complaints filed on Gutierrez and Martinez state the victim had four gunshot wounds, one in his neck and three in his arms. The pink truck had two bullet holes in its driver's side door.

During the preliminary examination, Bruce Burwell of the 7th Judicial District Attorney's office moved to dismiss each case without prejudice since the victims/witnesses did not show up to testify in court.

"Without prejudice" means the DA has the option to refile the charges later.

In making the motion to dismiss the case against Martinez, Burwell told the judge the victims in the case had been notified of the court proceeding and were served notices to appear in court to testify. However, they never appeared at Magistrate Court to give testimony.

Martinez had another case before the court stemming from a different incident in March, according to online court records. Those charges were receiving stolen property, a third-degree felony, and misdemeanor driving while license suspended or revoked.

Regarding the March felony charge, Burwell said the victim in the stolen property case hadn't been served a notice to appear in court and there was no reason to believe the victim will be served. He noted the case had already been continued once. Magistrate Judge Jim Naranjo dismissed the receiving stolen property charge without prejudice.

Martinez's attorney Katherine Riley moved to dismiss the misdemeanor charge, so the judge dismissed that without prejudice as well.

The court then moved on to the charges against Gutierrez, which Burwell noted was a companion case with the same situation applying as for Martinez.

"The victims are not here," Burwell said. "We're unable to proceed."

Gutierrez's case was then dismissed without prejudice.

Martinez and Gutierrez were released from custody following the preliminary hearings for their cases.

The criminal complaints state police met with the victim of the shooting, a Socorro man, at Socorro General Hospital on Aug. 12. He had been driving on Spring Street when the two defendants pulled up alongside him and told him to pull over. The victim said the vehicle passenger — a Hispanic man with tattoos above his eyes who was later identified as Gutierrez — asked him if he knew where to find another Socorro man. When the victim said he did not know, Gutierrez allegedly started shooting at the victim and his pink truck.

Police then questioned the Socorro man the defendants had allegedly been searching for. The man said he had gotten into a fight with Martinez some time ago in the trailer park where the man lives.

Police then went to Martinez's mother's residence, where they found him and Gutierrez, arresting them. Martinez's mother gave police consent to search the home, according to the criminal complaint, but police found no firearms in the home nor in Gutierrez's vehicle, which was parked in the back.

Police then met with the shooting victim's cousin, who said Gutierrez and Martinez had been to his house with their guns earlier in the day allegedly threatening him. They had asked the cousin where to find a man and woman, not the same people they asked the man in the pink truck about.

The cousin said he told the men: "Hey, don't do that here, I have my kid." The cousin said Gutierrez then told Martinez to calm down, and soon after the two left the home.