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Albuquerque police have arrested a man suspected of shooting and killing a man who had been staying at Coronado Park a couple of months ago.
Joseph Garcia, 28, is charged with murder and tampering with evidence in the death of 33-year-old Andrew Aguilar.
Police said late Monday he would be booked into jail overnight.
Aguilar was found dead near a tree in the park with a gunshot wound in his abdomen early the morning of June 14.
His godfather, who provides food to homeless people at the park, told investigators that the shooting was in retaliation for Aguilar stabbing another man during a fight a week earlier. He said his godson had been buying and using drugs at the park as well.
Garcia and others had been selling drugs out of the nearby Court John Motel and taking drugs to homeless people at the park, said an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman.
“Detectives were told Garcia was part of a group of subjects that controlled the park and sectioned off the land for people to live in the park,” spokesman Gilbert Gallegos wrote in a news release.
The shooting renewed focus on homeless people staying at Coronado Park and shortly afterward narcotics detectives arrested “major suppliers of drugs at Coronado Park and the Ambassador Inn,” Gallegos said.
He said detectives recovered a shotgun, three handguns, 4,500 Fentanyl pills, 3,008 grams of heroin, 29 grams of cocaine, several rocks of crack cocaine and nearly $10,000 in cash.
In the same incident, three people were charged in federal court after allegedly selling more than a pound of methamphetamine to an undercover agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration from the Court John Motel on June 15.
That same day investigators provided photos of the suspect in the shooting taken from a nearby security camera to city workers who clean the park and one recognized Garcia, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
Detectives interviewed Garcia and arrested him for unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon – a misdemeanor – and warrants for failing to appear in another misdemeanor case. He was released the following day and then a warrant was issued more than a month later, in mid July, when he was again accused of failing to appear in court.
According to the complaint, Garcia’s phone records showed he was in the vicinity of the park during the time of the shooting.
A warrant was issued for his arrest on Aug. 5.