Two men have been charged in the drive-by shooting of an 11-year-old boy in New Mexico – one of several recent killings cited by the state’s governor before she issued a controversial order suspending drug laws. open and concealed carry of firearms in parts of Mexico. State.
Jose Romero, 22, and Nathen Garley, 21, face multiple charges, including first-degree murder, for the killing of Froylan Villegas, according to the Albuquerque Police Department. Froylan had left a baseball game in Albuquerque on Sept. 6 and was sitting in the front passenger seat while his cousin was driving when “at least 14 rounds” were fired at their vehicle, according to a department news release.
The boy died from his injuries. His cousin was seriously injured and remains in the hospital, according to the department. Froylan’s mother and little brother were in the back seat of the truck but were not injured, although authorities say two bullets narrowly missed the baby who was in a car seat behind Froylan.
The tragic incident, which Chief Harold Medina called Thursday a “case of mistaken identity,” was one of several recent shootings that prompted Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to declare gun violence and abuse drugs as a public health emergency.
The governor’s emergency order, which she issued on September 8 – just two days after Froylan’s killing – included a 30-day suspension of open and concealed carry laws in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County and temporarily banned the carrying of firearms on public property, with certain exceptions.
Less than a week later, a federal judge blocked parts of the ban from being enforced until a preliminary injunction hearing takes place in the coming weeks, according to statements from Grisham’s office and a gun rights group that sued against the ban. reported.
Romero was arrested Thursday in Albuquerque, Medina said at a news conference. Garley had been in custody since September 13, when he was arrested during a traffic stop by a New Mexico State Police trooper who allegedly found nearly 100,000 fentanyl pills while was searching his car, State Police Chief Troy Weisler said at the news conference.
Weisler said authorities searched the phones of Garley and a woman who was also in the vehicle at the time and discovered “they were involved and had relationships with individuals involved in the shooting.” . He said they alerted Albuquerque police “so we can put a stop to this.”
Weisler did not provide additional information about the woman who was traveling with Garley, but said a separate investigation into drugs allegedly found in Garley’s car was underway.
CNN reached out to New Mexico State Police and Homeland Security Investigations, which is also investigating the case, for more information but did not receive a response.
Albuquerque police detectives received several tips after a description of the black Dodge Durango was made public and were able to identify the suspects and obtain leads, according to the police news release.
A public defender was appointed for Garley, but Romero’s case as of Friday was not in the system, New Mexico Law Office public defender spokeswoman Maggie Shepard told CNN Friday.
CNN reached out to Froylan’s family members and Gov. Lujan Grisham’s press office, but did not receive a response.