FARMINGTON — Police arrested a Kirtland man Wednesday on suspicion of murder for his role in a shootout on Saturday that left one man dead and four people injured, including the two suspects.
Levi Wilson, 31, was charged with an open-count of murder in the death of Christopher Valdez, 40, who was shot in the chest near East Hopi Street and Orchard Avenue shortly before 8:40 p.m. Saturday.
Police said Lawrence Kellywood, 26, and Wilson fired shots into Michael Tafoya's home, 101 E. Hopi St., on Saturday. Tafoya, whose gun collection was nearby, returned fire. Tafoya, Kellywood, Wilson, Valdez and Kathleen Keck, 26, were all shot in the gunfight. Valdez was killed, and the other four people have been treated and released from San Juan Regional Medical Center.
Kellywood was arrested Tuesday and charged with the attempted murder of Tafoya, 27.
Kellywood may have murder charges filed against him for Valdez's death, said Farmington police Detective Sgt. Brandon Lane on Wednesday.
Lane said Valdez was a bystander to the shooting and was on the other side of the street from the shootout when he was fatally wounded.
Though police are still not sure who fired the shots that killed Valdez, Wilson was charged with felony murder.
Felony murder is when a person commits an "inherently dangerous" felony that results in a person's death, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw.
If, for example, a person was killed during a robbery, the robbers could be charged with felony murder for that person's death. Even though the robbers didn't kill the person, their actions put in motion the events that lead to the death, Capshaw explained.
"It's foreseeable that if you go shoot someone or at an occupied home, they will shoot back," Capshaw said. "And when shots are fired into a crowded neighborhood ... death is a foreseeable occurrence."
In Saturday's shooting, Lane said Wilson traveled to Tafoya's house intending to shoot him at his home. Therefore, Wilson is responsible for the death of Valdez, who died as a result of a gunfight that Wilson allegedly instigated, Lane said.
A felony murder conviction carries the same punishment as a first-degree murder conviction, which in New Mexico is life in prison with a possibility for parole after 30 years.
Wilson was also charged Wednesday with the attempted murder of Tafoya, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, shooting at an occupied dwelling and conspiracy to commit murder, Lane said.
Lane said the motive for the crime is still under investigation.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.