Home News Local News Suspect in drive-by shooting to be held without bond

Suspect in drive-by shooting to be held without bond

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The suspect in a Sunday morning drive-by shooting in Roswell that left one man injured will remain detained pending trial.

Judge Thomas Lilley of New Mexico’s Fifth Judicial District Court, at a hearing Thursday, granted a motion filed by the District Attorney’s Office to hold Austin York, 22, without bond until trial or unless otherwise ordered by the court.

Lilley said evidence presented by the prosecution that York would be a danger to the safety of both the shooting victim and a witness to the incident is clear and convincing.

“I find the state has met their burden of proof, proving by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is a danger to at least those two people if not the community as a whole,” he said.

York is charged in connection with a shooting of a 26-year-old man that occurred Sunday at about 6 a.m. at the intersection of North Michigan Avenue and West 10th Street. The man was struck once in the upper-left chest area.

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He now faces one count each of shooting at or from a motor vehicle; aggravated assault, deadly weapon; aggravated battery; bribery or intimidation of a witness; retaliation against a witness; and firearms or destructive devices receipt, possession or transportation by a felon.

In her closing arguments at the hearing requesting the motion for pretrial detention, Taina Colon, assistant district attorney, said that the victim and another witness had positively identified York as the shooter, and the suspect had been taunting them for months for talking with police.

She also mentioned prior felony convictions against York, and that he is alleged to have possessed a handgun at the time of the shooting, despite being prohibited from doing so as a convicted felon and being on probation at the time.

“I think that alone shows that he is not able to follow the court’s orders. He is not able to follow any conditions of release that would ensure the community of safety,” Colon said.

Frank Rio, York’s attorney, pointed to the lack of physical evidence in the case, including the inability of police to find a gun used in the shooting or the blue Chrysler 300 that York is reported to have been driving at the time.

He also described the testimony of a witness who was with the victim at the time of the shooting as unreliable.

Rio added that York’s mother and stepfather would be willing to testify that he was with them at their house in Tatum when the shooting occurred.

Gino Basile, detective with the Roswell Police Department, was the only witness called to the stand at Thursday’s hearing.

Basile said he had questioned the victim, who identified York by name as the gunman, at Lovelace Hospital.

Moments before the shooting, the victim and another man had pulled up to a house in a 2019 silver Dodge Ram pickup truck, when York allegedly drove up in a Chrysler 300, and with his window rolled down began taunting the two men before then leaving.

After being unable to reach who they came to see at the house, the victim and the other man returned to the pickup and drove away.

They allegedly encountered York again while heading south on Michigan Avenue, while stopped for a stop sign at an intersection.

Basile testified that the victim said York was in the blue Chrysler 300 at the same intersection, but on Tenth Street.

York, according to the victim, produced a firearm and then — while driving across the street in front of them — fired three shots at the pickup, striking him. York then drove away.

The other man in the pickup then switched spots with the victim, who had been driving the pickup, and transported him to Lovelace.

Both men, Basile said, told him that York had been taunting them for months: the witness for speaking with police about a 2020 homicide in Roswell, and the victim for filing a report about a stolen gun.

Basile added that on Sunday night, he learned York had been arrested in Hobbs Sunday evening.

York was still being held at the Lea County Correctional Center during Thursday’s hearing.

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

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