Saturday, February 9, 2008

New Mexico: Belen teen shot after alleged auto break in

Balen, New Mexico

From the Valencia County News Bulletin of February 9, 2008
Belen teen shot after alleged auto break in

A Belen teenager is recovering in an Albuquerque hospital after being shot early Friday morning while allegedly breaking into a vehicle.

Belen Police Detective Richard Perea said a 16-year-old Belen boy is in stable condition at the University of New Mexico Hospital. Perea said the teenager is suffering from wounds to the back of his right arm and leg.

"We got a report of an attempted burglary of a vehicle on La Luz at about midnight on Thursday," Perea said. "The homeowner heard something outside and looked out the window. She told the officers that she saw two individuals who ran off when they saw her looking out."

The detective said the homeowner's husband reported hearing something again at about 3:45 a.m. Perea said the man walked outside with a shotgun and discovered someone inside his Toyota pickup truck.

"He (the homeowner) walked outside and fired one shot at the direction of the suspect, who had fled once the man walked outside of his home," Perea said. "The suspect was hit on the back of his right arm and leg, by a shotgun with bird shot."

Perea said the teenager stumbled, but was able to make it to an awaiting car down the street and left. The homeowner, whose name has not been released, told police later that he wasn't sure if he hit anyone. The detective said that when police arrived, they couldn't find the suspect's vehicle or any evidence that someone had been shot.

It wasn't until a few hours later when an ambulance was called for a gunshot victim at a Belen home that police were able to make the connection, Perea said.

"The driver of the car that left after the attempted burglary, had taken (the suspect) home and then went home himself," Perea said. "A few hours later, (he) called his friend, who picked him up, and took him to his mother's house. She's the one who called 911."

Perea said the case is still under investigation and charges have not yet been filed against the two teenagers. As for the homeowner, the detective said he needs to complete the investigation and conduct a follow-up interview before submitting the case to the district attorney's office for review.

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