Suspect charged with murder at rural New Mexico convenience store

WEED, N.M. — Authorities charged a suspect accused of shooting a worker at a rural convenience store Wednesday morning near Cloudcroft.

Around 8:34 a.m. Wednesday, Otero County deputies say they responded to reports of someone “jumping” the owner of the Weed Store.

They arrived and found a woman inside the store with gunshot wounds. She later died at the scene.

The nearby Mayhill Country Store identified the victim as a former employee of theirs.

At around 10 a.m. Wednesday, New Mexico State Police pulled the suspect vehicle over and detained the suspect.

Now, 52-year-old Joseph Sanders, of Bent, N.M., faces charges of murder, unlawful taking of a vehicle and tampering with evidence. He is being held in the Otero County jail.

The Mayhill Country Store shared pictures, allegedly showing the suspect walking through just days before the shooting in Weed.

Like others in the community, the shooting left them shaken up.

“So much was taken from our little mountain community. Not only our beloved friend but our sense of safety in our little mountain villages,” the Mayhill Country Store Facebook page posted. “Even though he has been caught, this man has left a hole in our little mountain community. Please continue to pray for the families and the community as a whole. It is unimaginable that this could happen up here.”

The victim left behind two sons, a husband and stepchildren, as well as friends and family. They are asking for privacy and prayers.

The Mayhill Country Store will reopen Monday with extra security measures and an armed guard.

When the store reopens, they will be accepting donations for the family. You can also make donations at the Weed Store and the Mayhill Cafe.

A candlelight vigil in the victim’s memory will take place this Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Weed Store.