APD: Third suspect arrested for fatal shooting outside Isotopes Park
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Detectives have arrested a third suspect for the murder of 11-year-old Froylan Villegas.
Police say 26-year-old Daniel Gomez was arrested Friday.
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said Thursday night that Froylan and his family were mistakenly targeted. That’s also when he announced that police also arrested 22-year-old Jose Romero and 21-year-old Nathen Garley in connection to the case.
Police originally thought this was a road rage shooting, but instead, investigators determined that this was a case of mistaken identity.
Police said Romero ran into someone he’d been feuding with at an Albuquerque Isotopes game just over two weeks ago. Police said the feud and the shooting were gang-related.
After the game, the suspects were trying to shoot at the people Romero was fighting with, but they targeted the wrong truck. They shot into the truck belonging to the Villegas family more than a dozen times.
Froylan died and his cousin, Tatiana Villegas, was critically injured. Froylan’s mother and baby brother were in the back seat of the truck during the shooting. Police said two bullets barely missed the infant, who was sitting in a car seat behind Froylan.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Froylan’s mom saw that the shooter was standing up, out of the sunroof, and holding a “big rifle” with both hands.
Medina said APD is still investigating because it’s unclear who actually shot at the truck. However, APD got several tips early on about who the suspects were.
“We still need to determine exactly what everybody’s role was in this, and that’s where the investigation will take us,” Medina said. “We’re also looking – I’ve already spoken to the U.S. attorney – if there’s any way that we could get a federal hook into any of these individuals. We will make sure that federally we charge them and that they face consequences in every court possible for their actions.”
Investigators said the only difference between the victims’ truck and the truck of the intended target can only be seen from up top. One had a sunroof, and the other did not.
According to the affidavit, Tatiana had received tickets to the Isotopes game through her work, which was hosting a picnic for employees at the game. Employees were allowed to bring family, so Tatiana had invited Froylan and his mom. Tatiana told police the family had enjoyed themselves at the game, and they didn’t have any altercations or feel threatened by anyone.
Tatiana Villegas is still recovering in the hospital. She is waiting on tests to see if she will ever walk again.
Romero was arrested Thursday night at an Allsup’s in Albuquerque. He was armed. A second person was also taken into police custody along with him, although that person was found to be unconnected to the shooting.
Garley was arrested by New Mexico State Police in Grants last week. According to NMSP, Garley was coming back from Phoenix when officers pulled him over.
During the traffic stop, they say they found 100,000 fentanyl pills. NMSP officers were able to coordinate with other law enforcement agencies and connect Garley to the shooting.
All three suspects are charged with first-degree murder and multiple crimes related to the shooting.
Garley was in court Friday for the first time. Prosecutors want to keep him behind bars until trial, but a judge will rule on that motion at a later date.
Police held a news conference on this case at their headquarters Thursday night. You can watch it here.
If you have details about this case, call 505-242-COPS. Police are still seeking more information.
Detectives arrested a third suspect today for the murder of 11-year-old Froylan Villegas. We know more people have details about this case. Call 505-242-COPS or Crime Stoppers at 505-843-STOP. Let's make sure they stay in jail and are held accountable for this tragedy. pic.twitter.com/znJWACbsb8— APD Chief of Police (@ABQPoliceChief) September 22, 2023