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Sheriff’s Office arrests murder suspect; Gunman previously pleaded guilty to negligent use of deadly weapon in 2017

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Dominguez

A Roswell man was charged with murder in the second degree and tampering with evidence after a shooting left a man dead northwest of Hagerman Sunday.

According to a news release from Chaves County Sheriff Britt Snyder, 39-year-old Jose L. Dominguez was arrested Sunday evening and later taken into custody by the Chaves County Adult Detention Center.

Dominguez is currently being held without bond.

Authorities said the name of the victim has not been released.

Snyder said deputies were dispatched to a reported shooting on Wiggins Lane — about three miles from the town of Hagerman — at about 3:15 p.m. Sunday

“Hagerman and Dexter police officers responded as well due to the nature of the call,” Snyder said. “Deputies were also given a vehicle description which the suspected gunman was said to have fled the scene driving west toward U.S. 285 on Chickasaw Road.”

New Mexico State Police also assisted.

Snyder said as both officers and deputies responded to the scene, they were on the lookout for the suspect’s vehicle.

“(We) were also given information that the suspect had left the shooting scene in a white SUV,” Snyder told the Daily Record. “Our shift sergeant spotted a vehicle matching the description given and stopped this vehicle just south of Darby Road on U.S. 285. The only person in that vehicle turned out to be the suspected gunman — and was taken into custody without incident.”

Snyder said back at the crime scene on Wiggins Lane, police found a man who had been reportedly shot.

“The Hagerman EMS who came determined there was nothing that could be done for the shooting victim,” Snyder said. “We’re still trying to track down his family and next of kin.”

Snyder said authorities had everyone on the property detained until they could determine what had occurred.

Snyder said while the wind made for a challenging crime scene, the Sheriff’s Office determined the victim was likely been shot over an argument between him and a co-worker.

“The wind was blowing unmercifully yesterday afternoon,” he said. “It was an incredibly dusty environment there — which just compounds everything.

“It appears that he was shot over some kind of dispute. There were at least four people on the property at the time of the shooting, we believe.

“We believe they all work for the property owner, and they were out there working and feeding horses and got into some kind of dispute over something there — and one guy pulled out a gun and shoots the other one.

“A firearm which was reported to have been thrown out of the vehicle by the suspect was located and recovered along Chickasaw Road. We believe this was the firearm used to commit this crime.”

According to an affidavit by detective Raul L. Valderaz of the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office, investigators observed six spent .45 mm casings east of the victim’s body.

“(I) observed a single gunshot wound to the upper-right quadrant of the (victim’s) chest,” Valderaz wrote in his report. “(I also) observed a gunshot wound to the lower-right quadrant of the (victim’s) stomach as well.”

Valderaz also noted the victim’s knife, which was secured inside its sheath. In an interview with police, Dominguez said the victim never pulled out the knife.

Toward the end of the interview, the Daily Record asked Snyder if the arrest of Dominguez was a matter of chance.

“Sometimes, the stars align, and we’re able to find everybody pretty quickly, and sometimes, we’re not,” Snyder said. “Our murder from Midway a week before last has been a lot more complicated, to say the least.”

According to online court records, Dominguez pleaded guilty to a petty misdemeanor charge for negligent use of a deadly weapon in January 2017.

Dominguez eventually completed his 182-day-sentence of supervised probation June 12, as he was approved an early discharge of 26 days.

Court records further state Dominguez had completed the Domestic Violence Offender Treatment Program, as well as ASPEN’s “A Second Chance – Life Values Program” during his probation period.

A review of Dominguez’s bond and conditions of release is set for Tuesday morning before Chaves County District Judge Freddie J. Romero.

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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