A shooting in Pueblitos and a homicide in the city of Rio Communities on the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 3, are being investigated by the New Mexico State Police and Valencia County Sheriff’s Office, respectively.
NMSP public relations officer Wilson Silver said the agency was asked to take over the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office investigation of a shooting in the 1200 block of N.M. 116, which happened around 1 p.m. last Wednesday. The victim, Raul Ramirez-Gonzales, 42, was shot in the shoulder. He was airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital for treatment.
Silver said Ramirez-Gonzales, of Albuquerque, was released from the hospital, then booked into the Albuquerque Metropolitan Detention Center on two outstanding warrants out of Wheeler County Texas on November 2023 charges of human smuggling and money laundering of more than $2,500 but less than $30,000.
According to the MDC booking sheet, Ramirez-Gonzales was also wanted on a warrant for multiple charges of aggravated battery against a household member with a deadly weapon, as well as assault, aggravated assault and child abuse charges. He is being held on a no-bond hold and faces extradition to Texas.
“Our investigators are working diligently to determine what caused this shooting, so it remains under investigation,” Silver said.
Shortly after the shooting in Pueblitos, deputies for VCSO and the Rio Communities Police Department were dispatched to the area of Horner Street and Rio Communities Boulevard (N.M. 47) in the city of Rio Communities, where Anthony Gutierrez, 42, of Los Chavez, was found dead on the shoulder of the road.
“He is the victim of a violent crime,” said VCSO Lt. Joseph Rowland. “We are not releasing the manner of death during the ongoing investigation.”
Two people of interest — a man and a woman — were taken into custody that day but later released, Rowland said.
“This is still an active investigation. Deputies canvassed the area Thursday and Friday. They went door to door gathering information,” Rowland said. “We do want to thank the community members who provided us with video footage in the area from (doorbell cameras). We collected a lot of footage from throughout Rio Communities.”
The lieutenant said evidence has been collected and sent for analysis.
Rowland said the two crimes don’t seem to be related.
“In the shooting on 116, a black Cadillac SUV was seen fleeing the scene and the vehicle on Horner was identified as a black Jeep, which has been located and recovered,” he said. “With the two black SUVs, initially it was a ‘maybe’ but they don’t seem to be related. The victims also don’t seem to be connected. Obviously, we will talk to the state police as they do their investigation and we do ours.”
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.