Farmington police Sgt. Pat Flores photographs the scene of a shooting at the Animas Valley Mall parking lot on Saturday. One man was shot and died later in
Farmington police Sgt. Pat Flores photographs the scene of a shooting at the Animas Valley Mall parking lot on Saturday. One man was shot and died later in the day at the San Juan County Regional Medical Center. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)
FARMINGTON — A 25-year-old man was shot and killed while he was sitting in a vehicle parked at Animas Valley Mall on Saturday evening.

Johnny Benjamin Vialpando, of Farmington, died Saturday night, said Farmington police.

Shots were fired just before 5 p.m. into the back seat of a black sport utility vehicle in which Vialpando was sitting.

Suspects in a white Chevrolet Blazer fled from the scene, and San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputies caught up with the car. Scanner traffic indicated that the suspects fled east on East Main Street.

Two suspects have been taken into custody, said Farmington police Lt. Taft Tracy.

Police did not release the identities of the suspects. Farmington police detectives were interviewing them on Saturday night.

According to police dispatchers, one of the suspects was a 5-foot-6-inch man with curly black hair parted down the middle. He was wearing a white shirt and black pants.

The suspect may have had a silver revolver, according to scanner traffic. Police on Saturday declined to confirm if that was true.

Farmington police Detective Cpl. Russ Bradford said that after the victim was shot, he was driven by the people he was with to the San Juan Regional Urgent Care facility across the street from the mall.

He was then taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center, where he died, Tracy said.

"It's an active investigation, and we're still trying to figure out why he was shot," Tracy said.

The shooting happened on the east side of the mall parking lot between the mall entrance and N.M. Highway 516. Police taped off a section of the parking lot Saturday evening so crime lab technicians could gather evidence, Bradford said.

A witness to the shooting, Seth, who did not want to give his last name, said he saw a confrontation between the suspects and the victim.
Bystanders watch as the Farmington police department investigate a shooting Saturday at the Animas Valley Mall parking lot.
Bystanders watch as the Farmington police department investigate a shooting Saturday at the Animas Valley Mall parking lot. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)


"They had a confrontation, and he pulled a gun out, pointed it at the window and fired about eight shots into the back seat," said Seth, 23.

Seth was parked several rows away from the shooting and was talking on the phone when he heard the commotion. Then he heard gunshots.

"I was on my way to get a bite to eat at Applebee's and then a homicide happens," he said.

Ryan Boetel can be reached at rboetel@daily-times.com; 505-564-4644. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel.