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APD investigating first homicide of the new year

Albuquerque police investigate a homicide in Northwest Albuquerque on New Year’s Day. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

A mere two hours after closing out its deadliest year on record, Albuquerque saw the first homicide of 2020.

Around 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, Albuquerque Police Department officers were called to a two-story townhouse on the 3900 block of Ladera near Atrisco NW for reports of a shooting. When officers arrived they found several people at the home and a man in the driveway, not breathing, according to Gilbert Gallegos an APD spokesman.

“Officers began emergency medical attention, while (Albuquerque Fire Rescue) was requested,” Gallegos wrote in an email. “AFR arrived on scene and determined the male was beyond medical attention.”

A short time later officers were told a second man had been dropped off at Presbyterian Hospital with at least one gunshot wound. He was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital trauma center in critical but stable condition and is expected to survive, Gallegos said.

“A homicide call out was initiated and detectives are on scene conducting interviews,” he wrote. “A search warrant of the residence has been obtained and is being processed by the Major Crime Scene team.”

Gallegos did not identify the man who was killed or say how old he was.

APD reported 82 homicides in 2019 – the highest number in recent history.

Evidence markers on the driveway on the scene of the first fatal shooting of 2020 at 3920 Ladera NW. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

Evidence markers on the driveway on the scene of the first fatal shooting of 2020 at 3920 Ladera NW. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

The tally does not include homicides that were determined to be in self-defense and the total could fluctuate if an incident is determined to be self-defense, accidental or the result of another circumstance that can alter the crime data.

The previous record year was in 2017 when there were 72 homicides in Albuquerque. Before that, there had been 70 homicides in 1996.

Shots fired

The homicide wasn’t the only thing keeping officers occupied on New Year’s Eve.

Gallegos said the department received 146 “shots fired” calls throughout the night, including the call related to the homicide on Ladera. He did not respond to questions about how this year compared to last year.

“Our officers were busy through the night, working to keep people safe,” APD Chief Michael Geier wrote in a news release. “Despite our warnings, too many people chose to be careless with their firearms and put others at risk.”

Gallegos highlighted one of those calls, which occurred just after midnight, in front of an apartment complex on the 1200 block of Madeira SE, near San Mateo and Gibson.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, an officer heard multiple gunshots and then saw 29-year-old Dominica Zamora hide a silver handgun in her jacket as she walked away.

Zamora admitted to being a convicted felon and said she’d bought the silver handgun, and another gun concealed on her left ankle, on the street, Gallegos said.

Both of those guns had been reported stolen.

Zamora was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center and charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, two counts of receiving a stolen firearm and unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon.

Neighbors hear gunshots

Back on the West Side, crime scene investigators, detectives and police personnel remained at the home on Ladera into the afternoon.

Around 2 p.m. a young woman parked just outside the crime scene tape and waited patiently for an investigator to return her black backpack and leopard print fur coat. She signed some papers and was allowed to leave, declining to speak with the Journal.

Neighbors in surrounding houses said they had heard gunshots throughout the night around the area. Some said early in the morning they heard what sounded like an argument, gunshots and then a vehicle squealing its tires as it sped away.

Michaelle Reynolds, a neighbor, said she had heard several gunshots earlier in the night but was asleep by 2 a.m. when the shooting happened.

“It’s just sad,” Reynolds said. “A sad way to start the year.”

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