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Shooting suspect to be held without bail pending trial

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A suspect in a shooting that took place at a party early Sunday morning and left four people wounded will remain detained without bond pending trial.

Judge Dustin Hunter of the Fifth Judicial District granted the state’s expedited motion for the pre-trial detention of Isaac Ray Chavez Jr. at a hearing Wednesday.

Chavez, 22, of Roswell is charged with two counts each of aggravated battery and aggravated assault. He also faces one charge of felon in possession of a firearm or deadly weapon in connection with a shooting during a party at the 1300 block of West College Boulevard.

Police showed up at the scene after receiving several calls from nearby residents who had reported hearing shots fired in the area.

Four males were shot and transported to Eastern New Mexico Medical Center for treatment. Chavez voluntarily turned himself in to police later that day and was placed under arrest.

The state filed a motion for expedited pretrial detention, which would allow Chavez to be held without bond in the lead up to his trial if granted by a judge.

The New Mexico Constitution states bail can be denied to an individual charged with a felony pending trial if the prosecuting authority requests a hearing and presents clear and convincing evidence that no release conditions will reasonably protect other people or the community.

Lance Jagger, a prosecutor with the Chaves County District Attorney’s office arguing on behalf of the state, told the court pretrial detention was necessary.

He said Chavez has been convicted before of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and has had a history of failure to appear in court.

He said at the very least, the state has statements from witnesses that Jagger, a convicted felon, fired a gun into a crowd of people.

“That is a grave concern for the state and it appears that not only has he shown a willingness to do aggravated batteries in the past, we see him willing to do it now,” he continued.

Jagger added Chavez has a history of probation violations, which shows he has difficulty abiding by conditions of release.

Speaking for the defense, Bonnie Kicklighter called into question the weight of the evidence. She also called into question the credibility of the two witnesses and added that until the results of a gun residue test come back, there is no physical evidence that he fired a gun.

“So I think the evidence here is a serious consideration in this case,” she said.

She added that although Chavez has had past criminal convictions, he has successfully completed probation and turned himself in to police voluntarily.

In testimony during the hearing, Roswell detective Victor Maynes said a female juvenile who had been at the party with Chavez identified him as the shooter, as did Sergio Rivera, another friend who had been sitting in a car at the time of the shooting.

Maynes said the shooting was believed to have taken place as the result of a fight between Chavez and one of the wounded victims.

Maynes said the juvenile female was punched in the face by Johnny “J.J.” Chavez. She then went to Isaac Chavez who waited for a couple of friends to arrive. Isaac Chavez and Johnny Chavez both then got in a fight, and as the fighting progressed, Isaac Chavez ended up on Ray Chavez and then took out a gun and fired two shots, one of which hit Johnny Chavez in the right elbow.

Three other victims were hit — one in the chest, one in the left hip and another in the hand.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.