FARMINGTON — The Farmington Police Department on Thursday arrested a 17-year-old suspected of committing a homicide in south Farmington on Wednesday night. 

Farmington police spokeswoman Georgette Allen said in a Thursday email that Rafael Velasquez, the suspect, was arrested for investigation of first-degree murder in the death of Seth Stallings, 22, of Farmington. Velasquez is also suspected of tampering with evidence and larceny of a firearm.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Farmington police officers were dispatched at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday to 306 Sycamore St. in reference to a body. Police found Stallings' body with a single gunshot wound to the head. 

Luis Herrera reported the death, the affidavit states. Herrera told police he was at the house to pick Stallings up for work when he discovered his body laying near the front entrance of the building.

The affidavit states that the residence on Sycamore Street was being rented by Rolando “Mugsie” Jacquez. Jacquez told police that he was letting a friend live at the residence while Jacquez was staying with his mother-in-law.  

Detective Mark Gaines requested that Jacquez's friend remain unidentified, citing concerns for his safety. 

“We have concerns he may be retaliated against,” Gaines said. 

Jacquez said his friend called him in a panic at about 7 p.m. He told Jacquez that a younger man named “Old School,” later identified as Velasquez, had shot Stallings in the head, the affidavit states.

Police obtained a search warrant for the Sycamore Street residence and found a bullet casing, a knife and several empty liquor bottles in the residence. 

Officers later found Velasquez in a residence at 502 Pima Ave. He requested that his mother be present before he talked to the officers and was subsequently transported to the Farmington Police Department for questioning.

Velasquez's mother told police that she wished to have an attorney present for questioning. Detectives asked if Velasquez would allow officers to inspect him using a gunshot-residue test. He complied and the tests were “presumptive positive,” which is a preliminary finding that could require further testing.

Jacquez's friend arrived at the police department and told officers he wanted to speak about the shooting. He said that it was his gun that was used in the shooting, the affidavit states.

A makeshift memorial is seen on Thursday on the corner of South Randolph Avenue and East Sycamore Street in Farmington where a man was killed on Wednesday
A makeshift memorial is seen on Thursday on the corner of South Randolph Avenue and East Sycamore Street in Farmington where a man was killed on Wednesday evening. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

He told police that Stallings asked to borrow the weapon on Wednesday because he believed someone was out to get him. Jacquez's friend said he kept the gun, disassembled, in the kitchen.

Velasquez walked into the kitchen at one point during the evening and reassembled the gun. Jacquez's friend told police he came back to the living room, shot Stallings in the face, and ran away with the gun still in his possession, the affidavit states. 

Crime scene tape was still hanging from a fence post outside the Sycamore Street residence on Thursday afternoon. Candles set out at the corner of Sycamore Street and Randolph Avenue spelled out an “S.”

Neighbor Jane Chino said she heard two gunshots Wednesday night. She said police had Randolph Avenue blocked off until about 1:30 a.m. 

Another neighbor, Latoya BlueEyes, said she heard shots, but thought they were coming from a neighbor's television. 

“If there was a murder, it was probably drug-related or gang-related,” she said.

According to court records, Stallings has had several run-ins with law enforcement over the past few years. He is featured on Courtwatch, a website maintained by the San Juan County Sheriff's Office that details the criminal history of repeat offenders. 

According to court records, he pleaded guilty in October 2011 to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

In 2012 between July and December, numerous charges against Stallings were dismissed.

In March, he was charged with false imprisonment and battery against a household member. A jury trial was scheduled to take place in November. In April, he was charged with burglary of a vehicle and petty larceny. 

Velasquez is being held without bond, according to the affidavit. 

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and stgarrison@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.