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Suspect charged in fatal shooting of 13-year-old cousin

APD officers speak with Anthony Padilla after he fatally shot his 13-year-old cousin Thursday afternoon in an East Central neighborhood. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Anthony Padilla (MDC)

A man told detectives he was arming himself for protection amidst the COVID-19 scare when he accidentally shot his 13-year-old cousin, killing him, Thursday afternoon in an East Central neighborhood, according to the Albuquerque Police Department.

A man told detectives he was arming himself for protection amid the COVID-19 scare when he accidentally shot his 13-year-old cousin, killing him, Thursday afternoon in an East Central neighborhood, according to the Albuquerque Police Department.

Gilbert Gallegos, an APD spokesman, said 19-year-old Anthony Padilla was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center overnight. Padilla is charged with an open count of murder in the death of Patricio Arroyo.

Court records show Padilla told police he was taking his shotgun home for protection “due to the coronavirus that was going around” when he pulled the trigger and shot Arroyo. He said he didn’t think the gun was loaded.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court:

Officers responded to the shooting around 2:30 p.m. in the 300 block of Rhode Island NE, near Copper. They found Padilla holding Arroyo in his lap in a van outside the home as Arroyo’s brother applied pressure.

Arroyo, who was shot in the torso and had no pulse, was pronounced dead at a hospital. Relatives told police they were all hanging out in the living room when Padilla walked out of a bedroom with a shotgun he had been storing there.

Arroyo’s brother told police Padilla “racked” a round into the chamber, pointed it at the teen and shot him. He said he thought Padilla was just “joking around” before the gun went off and all the relatives police spoke to believed it was an accident.

Padilla told police he had bought the gun months before at a gun shop and had been storing it at his aunt and uncle’s because his mother didn’t allow guns in the house. Padilla said he had shot the gun many times and would always make sure it was unloaded before storing it under his cousin’s bed.

Padilla told police he was taking the gun home for protection amid the COVID-19 scare. He said he pulled the trigger once and nothing happened, he then “racked” the gun and pulled the trigger 2 feet from Arroyo.

“He put the gun down near the front door and began to tell Patricio to ‘stay awake’ after he realized what he had done,” a detective wrote. “… He did not realize the shotgun was loaded.”

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