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Armed robbery suspect held without bond


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

A man accused of shooting another man during an armed robbery last month will remain incarcerated pending trial.

Judge Jared Kallunki of New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County, at a May 5 hearing, granted a motion by the District Attorney’s Office to hold 20-year-old Erin Buckner in pretrial detention while he awaits trial on charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault, deadly weapon.

Kallunki said he does not believe any conditions of release could be imposed that would keep the community safe if Buckner was released while awaiting trial.

Buckner is alleged to have shot and wounded a 68-year-old man during a robbery at about 5 a.m. April 30 in the McDonald’s parking lot at 1804 South Main Street in Roswell.

In her closing argument, Taina Colon, deputy district attorney, said the shooting was part of an escalating history of usually theft-related crime from Buckner, which has been dismissed due to issues surrounding Buckner’s competency.

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“These are very serious, serious crimes and we believe he would present a danger to the community,” she said.

According to electronic court records, between May 2019 and Oct. 2020, Buckner was charged in seven different cases, but the charges were later dismissed on competency grounds.

In the motion by the District Attorney’s Office it is stated that the April 30 shooting shows Buckner will arm himself with a firearm if given the chance.

Debra Lautenschlager, Buckner’s attorney, unsuccessfully argued for the court to allow Buckner to be released on bond while he awaits trial.

“Your honor, I think a monetary bond with a place to stay is the way to go at this moment,” Lautenschlager said.

At the hearing, Detective Brandon Stroud of the Roswell Police Department was the only witness called by the prosecution. The defense did not call any witnesses.

Stroud said the victim told him that before the shooting, he was in the parking lot sitting in the front seat of his vehicle with the door open when Buckner approached him on a chrome bike and asked for some money.

After Buckner asked the victim for money, he demanded that the victim hand over his wallet and showed a handgun that was in his waistband. The victim then allegedly responded by taking out a knife from his own pocket, when Buckner reportedly took out a handgun and shot the victim twice: once in the right leg and once in the right shoulder.

According to court documents, Buckner fled on the bicycle heading northbound and a McDonald’s employee followed him.

The employee later informed police the subject — later identified as Buckner — reportedly rode his bike to the west side of a business at the intersection of West Hobbs and South Main streets.

An officer then went to the location, where he confronted Buckner, who matched the description of the gunman provided by the victim. Buckner reportedly blurted out to the officer that he did not have a gun.

Buckner was allegedly taken into custody and a search warrant was obtained and executed on his backpack. Stroud said police found a Ruger LCP. 380 handgun in the backpack and a single .380 round at the crime scene.

Stroud added surveillance video from a camera on the McDonald’s did show Buckner leave and come onto the scene on a bicycle. It did not capture the shooting.

“You just see Mr. Buckner approach the car and leave the scene,” he said.

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

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