ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) —
Two people were arrested Thursday in connection with a shooting outside an Albuquerque baseball stadium that killed an 11-year-old boy and prompted New Mexico’s governor to issue a controversial gun ban .
Jose Romero, 22, and Nathen Garley, 21, were detained for the Sept. 6 shooting after an Albuquerque Isotopes game in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity, the police chief said. police Harold Medina at a press conference.
“These cowards thought they were tough,” Medina said in a previous social media post. “They killed an innocent child.”
Romero was taken into custody Thursday evening. At the time, he was already wanted for failing to appear in court in connection with an alleged drug deal, Medina said.
Garley was already in custody when he was arrested in connection with the murder. He was arrested by state police on Sept. 13 while returning from Arizona and authorities found a gun and about 100,000 fentanyl pills in the car, the state police chief said. State W. Troy Weisler during the press conference.
Further investigation linked him to the shooting, authorities said.
It was not immediately clear whether either man had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Police alleged the men, both reputed gang members, pulled up in a car and attacked a van that was leaving the minor league game at Isotopes Stadium.
More than a dozen shots were fired, killing Froylan Villegas and leaving his cousin, Tatiana Villegas, paralyzed from the waist down, authorities said.
The boy’s mother and younger brother were also inside the truck but were not injured, although two bullets narrowly missed the other child, police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said. .
Police initially suspected the shooting may have been an act of road rage, but the police chief said it was an act of “mistaken identity.”
Romero and Garley had had an ongoing feud with another man and had argued with him during the baseball game. The man was driving a white Dodge pickup truck, Gallegos said.
The victims were in a very similar white Dodge truck that left the stadium parking lot and passed the intended target’s truck, police said.
“We believe these cowards confused the two vehicles and shot at the wrong vehicle,” the police chief said.
“Investigators used cell phone data and social media to track the movements of several individuals,” Gallegos said. “The day after the shooting, the man who was in conflict with Romero sent him a message on Instagram telling him they had shot at the wrong truck.”
The shooting, one of several shootings involving children, prompted New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, to issue an emergency public health order days later suspending the right to bear arms public fire in and around Albuquerque. The measure was opposed by Republican lawmakers and gun rights groups and a federal judge last week granted a temporary restraining order to block the order pending another court hearing next month .
U.S. District Judge David Urias said the governor’s initial order was likely to cause irreparable harm to people deprived of the right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.
Grisham later amended the ordinance to apply only to public parks and playgrounds where children and their families gather.