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Las Cruces police announced the arrest of Osvaldo Padilla Suarez, 40, in a homicide that took place near downtown on Saturday afternoon.
Police responded to a report of a gunshot victim on the 300 block of Van Patten Avenue at around 3:15 p.m. The mortally wounded victim was identified by police as Oscar Ramirez. Charging documents state that Ramirez, 26, was moved to a local hospital and died of his injuries there.
An account of Suarez’s arrest alleges he attempted to flee by jumping over a wall into an alleyway where he was stopped by police; the documents further state that Suarez, a resident of the apartment complex where the shooting occurred, denied being involved. Police said they recovered a rifle with which they allege Suarez fired a single round at the victim.
Police also detail security video footage from the apartment complex that purportedly shows the shooting, and they allege that Suarez told a tenant to delete the footage.
Suarez has been charged with first-degree murder, a capital felony; and third-degree felony charges of possessing a firearm following prior felony convictions; tampering with evidence (related to a capital offense); and bribery of a witness using threats or bribes.
Suarez is being held in custody without bond at the Doña Ana County Detention Center, and state prosecutors petitioned district court on Monday for an expedited pretrial detention hearing, arguing no conditions of release could protect public safety and saying the state plans to pursue a grand jury indictment.
The defendant could face life imprisonment, with or without the possibility of parole, if convicted of the murder charge. Third-degree felonies generally have basic sentences of up to three years, which may be extended to six if they result in the death of a human being, in addition to fines.