HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) - It was a horrifying scene for a 9-year-old boy after police say he witnessed the murder of his own father.
Police say they now have a suspect in custody because of what that little boy saw.
It was shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, when a normally quiet block on North Blanco in Hobbs became a crime scene.
"We were watching TV and my wife said 'there's a bunch of red lights out here', so we just ran outside," their neighbor, Joe Clay, said.
Hobbs Police say 33-year-old Stephen DeMoss was shot twice in the back, in front of his home and his 9-year-old son.
Detectives say the driver of a black SUV, later identified as 23-year-old Emilio Romero, pulled up to the DeMoss' home while the victim was outside with his son.
"DeMoss went out to tell him, you know you need to just get out of here, and two shots were fired," said officer Mike Stone, of the Hobbs Police Department.
Court records state the victim's 9-year-old son told detectives he was standing in the garage when he saw the driver of the SUV point a gun at his father, watched his dad run toward the house and then heard the gunshots.
DeMoss was transported to Lea Regional Medical Center, where police said he died as a result of the gunshot wounds.
The young boy saw everything. He was able to describe the suspect and the suspect's vehicle to police as one belonging to his dad's ex-girlfriend.
Police said the ex-girlfriend was currently living with and dating Romero.
"Romero's girlfriend told investigators that when he (Romero) got home from getting them a pizza, he stated you're going to be really mad at me for what I've done, and he told her that he had shot DeMoss," Officer Stone said.
According to the criminal complaint, the woman claimed she and DeMoss had a relationship for the past three years and that Romero was jealous of DeMoss.
"It's a real tragedy that DeMoss' 9-year-old son had to witness this," said Stone. "When you have a problem with someone, or jealousy, to end in this type of violence, law enforcement officers just really hate to see that."
Within an hour of the shooting, detectives had Romero detained for murder.
Hobbs Police Chief Chris McCall says police do not believe this was a random act of violence.
"This was an isolated case, this was not an incident involving gang members, or anything that would lead you to believe there are other violent tendencies here," McCall said.
Detectives are combing the area where the crime occurred, looking for the nine millimeter gun used in the shooting.
Romero is being held on a $1 million bond.
At this point, police don't believe the suspect's girlfriend knew about the shooting beforehand.
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