Suspect arrested in connection with shooting on Crouch Mesa

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON − A suspect was arrested in connection with the shooting last weekend of a man on Crouch Mesa.

San Juan County Sheriff's Office personnel took 22-year-old Maximiliano Munoz-Lucero into custody in connection with the incident, which took place on July 24, according to a news release from the agency.

At approximately 7:30 a.m. that day, deputies were dispatched to a residence on County Road 3935 on the mesa. When they arrived at the scene, they found a victim, identified as 22-year-old Brandon Huegler, who had been shot multiple times, according to the news release. Huegler was taken to the San Juan Regional Medical Center and underwent surgery for his injuries.

More:City Council votes to move Farmington Police Department to new digs across town

Witnesses told investigators they saw a man shoot Huegler after the two got into an altercation, then drive away in a gray SUV. Shortly thereafter, the county's emergency dispatch center received a call from a woman who said her brother had just gotten home and claimed he had killed someone in self-defense.

According to the news release, deputies located Munoz-Lucero outside a residence and detained him without incident, then drove him to Sheriff's Office headquarters for an interview.

Sheriff's Office detectives learned that Munoz-Lucero had been dropping off a friend at a residence on County Road 3935 on the day of the incident when a vehicle pulled up behind his vehicle. The release states Huegler got out of that second vehicle and confronted Munoz-Lucero in the first vehicle, reportedly lifting his shirt to reveal a firearm. He then returned to the second vehicle.

After waiting an undisclosed amount of time, Munoz-Lucero then walked back to the second vehicle, where he found Huegler asleep. The news release, and the arrest warrant affidavit filed in the case, both state that Munoz-Lucero took the firearm from Huegler, hit him in the head with it and returned to his own vehicle with the gun.

More:Three charged with 1st degree murder, conspiracy in shooting death of San Juan County man

Huegler responded by exiting his vehicle and approaching Munoz-Lucero, at which point Munoz-Lucero told investigators he shot Huegler several times before leaving the scene, according to the release.

"I asked Munoz-Lucero why he shot the male when he was near the back of his vehicle, and he said he was afraid the male was going to take the gun away from him and shoot him," Sheriff's Detective Mike Farni wrote in the arrest warrant affidavit. "He said the male kept trying to get up from the ground and he wanted to empty the magazine so there wouldn't be any bullets left if the male was able to get the gun away from him."

Munoz-Lucero listed a mailing address in Farmington on a court document. He faces charges of aggravated burglary, a 2nd degree felony, and two counts of aggravated battery, both 3rd degree felonies.

He was booked into the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on July 24 at 4:38 p.m. and is scheduled for a two-hour-long pretrial detention hearing and a preliminary hearing on Aug. 5 at 8 a.m. before Eleventh District Court Judge Daylene Marsh.

Eleventh District Assistant District Attorney Gertrude Lee filed an expedited motion for pretrial detention stating the defendant should be held in jail until trial to preserve public safety due to the violent nature of the crime of which he is accused.

The investigation into the incident continues, and anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to call 505-333-7878.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.

Daily Times Editor John R. Moses contributed to this report. He may be reached by phone at 505-564-4624, or via email at jmoses#daily-times.com.