Public safety expert weighs in on deadly Santa Fe shooting

Public safety expert weighs in on domestic violence system

A New Mexico family was torn apart after Carmen Navarrete and her 15-year-old son, Axel Gonzales, were murdered Monday night.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A New Mexico family was torn apart after Carmen Navarrete and her 15-year-old son, Axel Gonzales, were murdered Monday night. 

KOB 4 learned her son, Axel Gonzales, was a sophomore at Capital High School in Santa Fe. Their loved ones say both were loving, kind, and hardworking. 

The suspect, Jose “Adrian” Roman, was on the run for about 36 hours until police caught up with him this morning in Albuquerque. They arrested him after a SWAT standoff near 98th and Central.

On paper, Navarrete did everything right. 

Court documents show she reported alleged violence by Roman to police after they broke up.  She then filed a restraining order, but it wasn’t enough.

Police say Roman took a gun from a relative’s home and shot Navarrete and her son. The shooting happened at Navarrete’s home in Santa Fe near West Alameda. 

KOB 4’s public safety expert says this just shows we need better tools to protect victims. 

“Crime of domestic violence and stalking is a crime unlike any other. It’s very sadistic. It’s very predatory, and it’s very focused on the victim,” said Paul Szych, KOB public safety expert.

Szych says more needs to be done for victims, especially if they’re involved with someone with Roman’s history. 

Roman was wanted for a felony warrant on allegations involving violence toward Navarrete when the shooting happened. 

“We just systematically need to get better at how we conduct stalking and domestic violence investigations to include follow up, if we’re really going to turn the tide in favor of victims,” said Szych.  

Navarrete’s daughter told KOB 4 her mom dated Roman for two years, but broke up with him in late October because of the violence.

Court documents show they got into an argument on Oct. 28, putting Navarrete in the hospital. They show Roman allegedly punched her in the face several times, strangled her, and pointed a gun at her.

She said he asked for forgiveness, but said if she reported it he would kill her, and “end” her children.

On Nov. 9 Navarrete filed a restraining order. She and her son were killed four days later. 

“Unfortunately, restraining orders, they work best on people who are willing to abide by them. If you have an individual who is not willing to be restrained, it takes more than a piece of paper to stop them,” Szych said. 

That’s why Szych says after a restraining order is served, officers should know the victim’s and the suspect’s locations. 

“We gotta have eyes on the victim, we gotta know if the offender is moving. In that window of after you serve that restraining order, it could a couple of days. Is a couple of days of surveillance worth somebody’s life? Absolutely,” said Szych. “The reality is if we’re not on the victim when the offender arrives we’re not there, we’ve missed the whole thing.” 

Szych plans to go to state lawmakers this session because of cases like this. He says he wants money set aside for advanced training for officers handling domestic violence and stalking cases. 

No word yet on when Roman will be in court. He’s facing more than a dozen charges, including first-degree murder.