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SF woman charged with murder had reported ‘human sacrifice’


Beverly Melendez

SANTA FE – A woman accused of killing a Santa Fe teenager when she fired a rifle at a neighbor’s home where a late night party was going on called 911 to say that “a potential human sacrifice was occurring in the area,” according to a police statement filed in state District Court Monday.

Beverly Melendez, 64, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder less than two hours later, after a SWAT and Crisis Negotiations Team talked her out of her home on the 1800 block of Quapaw Street about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

The regional dispatch center received a call from Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center at 12:03 a.m. Sunday, saying that a wounded man, identified as Rodrigo Enriquez-Garay, had been dropped off by two men in a white pickup truck who then fled, according to a police report. Enriquez-Garay, 19, who Santa Fe police say was attending the house party with family members, was pronounced dead soon thereafter.

The report states that the dispatch center had also received a call from Melendez, who “reported that someone was being sacrificed” on Hopewell Street, which is one block from Quapaw in Mid-City Santa Fe.

Meanwhile, police made a traffic stop of a white pickup in the area. The driver of the truck admitted that he and another male had transported his friend, Enriquez-Garay, to the hospital in the bed of his pickup truck, where police found blood. The driver said his friend had been shot during a house party by a female neighbor, “having heard a female yell at them just prior to several gunshots being fired.”

The woman allegedly fired the shots over the wall of her backyard, which is adjacent to the property where the party was taking place, and police found spent .22 caliber bullet casings in her backyard near the wall.

Melendez was apprehended after police set up SWAT operations in front of her home and coaxed her out, along with two other women, who were not charged. During a sweep of the home to make sure no one else was inside, police observed unspent .22 caliber bullets and a rifle sheath in the back bedroom of the home.

Melendez told police she owned a .22 caliber rifle and admitted to shooting it in her backyard three days earlier, but she did not remember firing the rifle that night. Melendez told police she has had several altercations with her backyard neighbors. She said that, since June, her neighbors have been running a generator overnight and she hasn’t been able to sleep. She also complained of loud parties at the neighbors’ home.

She acknowledged that she did become agitated about the party and that she had the rifle with her when she climbed a small step ladder to peer into her neighbor’s yard. “Ms. Melendez then said she flipped out, and returned back to her bedroom, but could not remember what happened,” the detective’s report states.

The court document says that when Melendez was told someone at her neighbor’s house had died from a gunshot wound, she began to cry and talk to herself. A detective heard her say, “I’m so sorry,” and, “It shouldn’t have happened.” After leaving the interview room, Melendez was observed saying, “What the (expletive) did I do?”

Melendez was booked into the Santa Fe County jail Sunday morning and is being held without bond.