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4 arrested in deadly ‘mistake’ shooting of Española youth

From left: Brittany Garcia, 21, Mark Timothy Hice, 22, Anton Martinez, 19, and Axel Zamarron, 17 (Source: New Mexico State Police)

SANTA FE — Four people have been arrested and three have been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death Thursday night of 18-year-old Cameron Martinez on a highway north of Española.The shooting of Martinez was by mistake, the State Police say.

One of the alleged shooters, Mark Timothy Hice, 22, of Ojo Caliente, believed someone was looking for him and wanted to shoot him, according to a news release issued Sunday.

Cameron Martinez was killed Oct. 4.

Hice and his companions subsequently opened fire on the car that Martinez and three others were riding in, killing Martinez and wounding the three other people in the car with him, the State Police say.

The State Police statement adds, “The victims are not believed to have been related to any prior involvement with the suspects and were targeted as a mistake.”

Along with Hice, Anton Martinez, 19, of Santa Cruz and Axel Zamarron, 17, of Española are charged with first-degree murder. Brittany Garcia, 21, of Ojo Caliente faces conspiracy and tampering with evidence charges.

The shooting took place about 9:30 p.m. Thursday on N.M. 68 on Ohkay Owingeh pueblo, just north of Española.

Responding officers found a blue Subaru WRX in the northbound lane with two

men and two women inside, all with apparent gunshot wounds. One of them, Martinez, was dead.

Martinez graduated from Espanola Valley High School this year and played on the Sundevils basketball team, He had been participating in a paid student program at Los Alamos National Laboratory, in information technology,

According to the State Police, Hice believed on Thursday night that “there was a group of people looking for him and wanting to shoot him.”

He “arranged a plan with (Anton) Martinez and Zamarron to shoot anyone whom Hice felt might be a threat to him.

“Hice, (Anton) Martinez, and Zamarron were all armed with semi-automatic handguns,” says the State Police news release.

The release says that Hice has confessed that, before the shooting,  he and Anton Martinez, along with several others, were riding in a white Kia Optima driven by Garcia, Hice’s girlfriend. Zamarron and other friends were traveling in a separate tan Nissan passenger car on N.M. 68.

The news release states: “Hice observed a blue vehicle approaching them at a high rate of speed. He stated to agents he feared the blue vehicle belonged to someone he felt was a threat.

“Hice and Martinez in their vehicle, along with Zamarron in the Nissan, opened fire on the blue vehicle. This shooting resulted in the death of Cameron Martinez, and serious injuries to three other people.”

The three surviving shooting victims – who have not been identified – have all been released from medical treatment. They have not been identified by police.

Rice, Anton Martinez and Zamarron face other charges in addition to first-murder, including three counts each of shooting at a motor vehicle resulting in great bodily harm, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to tamper with evidence in a capital offense and tampering with evidence.been released from medical treatment and are in stable condition, the State Police said.

Hice has faced a few criminal charges such as battery, false imprisonment and DWI dating back to 2014, but most of the counts were dismissed. He has also been cited several times for traffic violations.

Santa Fe District Attorney Marco Serna announced he will be filing criminal complaints against the four defendants.

“I am angry an disgusted by this evil, horrific act of violence that left three innocent young people severely wounded and an exceptional young man dead,” said Serna. “Cameron Martinez exemplified the best of New Mexico and was on a path to a very bright future making his community a better place. I will seek swift justice for his alleged murder and the shooting using the full force of the law to do so, and we pray for the healing of all individuals and families impacted by this senseless tragedy.”

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