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Santa Fe teen charged with killing Michigan man

SANTA FE — A 17-year-old boy has been arrested and charged in the shooting death of a Michigan man who was killed while passing through Santa Fe late last month.

An arrest warrant affidavit quotes a witness describing Zachary Gutierrez, who police say has an long criminal record even as a juvenile, bending over and laughing at the man he killed, Richard Milan, 64, of Kalamazoo, after shooting Milan twice.

In the Sept. 26 shooting, Milan — who had been walking his dog off on Lucia Lane off Airport Road — was wounded in the left thigh, where a bullet severed the femoral artery, and in the buttocks. He died later at the hospital. Police have said Milan in was in Santa Fe with his wife to visit relatives as part of cross-country trip.

Santa Fe police Lt. Paul Joye said Gutierrez’s record includes cases of robbery and battery. But so far, there is no indication that robbery was Gutierrez’s motive for shooting Milan, Joye said.

“What we’ve uncovered so far is that there was a verbal altercation between the suspect and the victim and it escalated to our suspect shooting his gun,” he said.

“There’s no reason to believe it was an attempted robbery,” Joye said, despite Gutierrez’s criminal history, which includes an April 2016 case where Gutierrez and another boy were charged with robbing a Denver woman and the man she was walking at gunpoint near the downtown Plaza.

Gutierrez had been in custody since Saturday for other crimes. In late August, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office had tweeted out an alert that he was wanted on a warrant. That warrant says Gutierrez violated probation violation by cutting off a GPS device, after facing charges of robbery and conspiracy top commit robbery.

Now, he is charged with an open count of murder and tampering with evidence for Milan’s death.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, police tracked down a 17-year-old girl who was part of a group that was with Gutierrez when Milan was shot.

She said some words were exchanged between Gutierrez and the “Old Man walking the dog.” She said Gutierrez was being very aggressive and initiated the confrontation and was in Milan’s face. The girl said she started to walk away and had her back towards them when she heard a gunshot and turned around. She said Gutierrez shot Milan two times and he fell to the ground.

The girl saw Gutierrez “standing and bending over the ‘Old Man’ looking at him and laughing,” the affidavit says. She said everyone started to run from the area at that point.

A pastor at New Beginning Christian Church, behind Garcia Tire on Lucia Lane, said he came outside after hearing three gunshots and saw five people standing across the street. One of them was standing over a male on the ground, “bending over him and appeared to be talking to him.”

Another teen said that she was in a car with Gutierrez and others after the shooting and Gutierrez said “I did it” several times and also said “I’m on the run now, and I’m going to be on the run the rest of my life.”

Four fired bullet casings from a .40 caliber gun were found at the scene, the police affidavit says.

The affidavit says several young people were together when Milan was shot, and afterward. “All individuals present at the time of the shooting have also been identified,” a police statement said.

Lt. Joye said no one else has been charged but the police are not ruling out that others could charged in the case.

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