*Correction issued: KRQE News 13 initially reported the driver as Froylan’s aunt; she is his cousin.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina announced that two suspects have been arrested in the death of 11-year-old Froylan Villegas. He was shot while leaving the Isotopes game three weeks ago. 17 shots were fired at the family’s pickup killing him and seriously injuring his cousin.
APD said it was not a road rage incident but a case of mistaken identity. The suspects, 22-year-old Jose Romero and 21-year-old Nathen Garley were in a dispute with someone in a white pickup, similar to the one Villegas was in, and investigators believe the suspects opened fire on that vehicle by mistake. Chief Medina said video showed the two white cars passing close to each other shortly before the shooting. “It is our belief that these cowards mixed up the two vehicles, and shot into the wrong vehicle taking the life of a young man,” said Chief Medina.
Story continues below
- New Mexico: New Mexico lawmaker looks to boost substance use recovery services in the U.S.
- Crime: Alamogordo police charge man for October road rage shooting
- Albuquerque: Albuquerque officials describe challenges of cleaning homeless camps during injunction
- Local: Los Lunas Village Council postpones decision on Niagara Bottling expansion
APD said they identified Romero as a possible suspect within 36 hours of the shooting. At the time, Romero had a warrant out for his arrest on a drug charge from three years ago. Chief Medina said Romero was taken into custody minutes before Thursday night’s news conference. He also said they are looking into what federal charges may be brought against the two suspects.
New Mexico State Police Chief Troy Weisler also joined the briefing explaining how Garley was picked up. A couple of days after the shooting, he was pulled over near Grants coming back into New Mexico from Arizona. State Police said he had 22 pounds of fentanyl in his car and is facing federal drug trafficking charges. “Had put makeup to cover up his neck tattoos, the officer asked him about it, He said it was some TikTok trend, there’s some strange TikTok trends but that one seemed a little fishy,” said Chief Weisler.
Police still have not found the black Dodge Durango SRT the suspects were believed to be driving. They believe it may now be a different color.