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Teen arrested in slaying of mail carrier

A makeshift memorial was built outside the Five Points Postal Office where letter carrier Jose Hernandez worked. Hernandez was shot and killed on his route near 98th and Tower SW Monday afternoon. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Authorities have caught the 17-year-old accused of gunning down a mail carrier during a dispute outside his mother’s house in a West Side neighborhood on Monday afternoon.

Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said officers with APD and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service arrested Xavier Zamora “without incident” during a joint operation Wednesday night.

The teen faces an open count of murder in the death of 47-year-old Jose Hernandez, a longtime mail carrier.

“APD worked closely with USPIS and the FBI to ensure Zamora was located and arrested,” Gallegos said. “The investigation is ongoing.”

Police say Zamora was arguing with his mother outside their home in the 700 block of Terracotta SW, near Tower and 98th Street, on Monday afternoon. Hernandez was working his mail route when he came upon the fight and intervened.

Court records allege Zamora “became aggressive” and Hernandez ended up macing the teen. Then Zamora got a gun from inside the house and shot Hernandez.

Police say Zamora ran back inside the house as neighbors tried to revive Hernandez, but he died at the scene.

The SWAT team responded to the block and entered the home, searching for Zamora, but he was nowhere to be found. Neighbors and coworkers soon erected a memorial at the site of the shooting as police launched into a search for Zamora.

Hernandez’s family told the Journal he was a native of Phoenix, had four children and was an Army veteran.

He had worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Albuquerque for 12 years and out of the Five Points post office for the past five, according to a Postal Service spokesman.

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