SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The man accused of having a gun go off in a Walmart is back on the streets after the charges against him were dismissed, possibly temporarily. It’s all part of the Santa Fe district attorney’s DWI policy, which is now raising questions.
Thirty-three-year-old Eric Rosas is accused of firing off a gun in a Walmart bathroom in Santa Fe on Wednesday. According to court documents, Rosas fled from police after they were called to the scene. Officers showed up and tried to talk to him but he took off in his truck, crashing into a guardrail a short while later.
Police say when they interviewed Rosas before taking him to the hospital, his speech was slurred and his eyes bloodshot. He was facing seven different charges from that day, including negligent use of a deadly weapon, unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon, and driving under the influence, he spent almost no jail time because his charges were dropped.
It’s an example of the DWI misdemeanor policy the Santa Fe D.A. implemented recently. Under the policy, charges are dismissed until more evidence is gathered, and can be re-filed later. According to the DA, the goal of the policy is to have time to build a stronger case for prosecutors. But questions are being raised as police worry that the Rosas poses a danger to the public.
“That’s why we want to expedite getting the discovery done as soon as possible. So hopefully, some of the conditions of police maybe do not use alcohol and do not be in possession of firearms. Here’s your court date, you need to get to, we just want to make sure that there’s no further criminal conduct that’s going to endanger the community,” said deputy chief of Santa Fe police, Ben Valdez.
The DA’s office says all the charges were dismissed because they were part of the same criminal incident as the DWI and had to be dropped as well because of a ‘double jeopardy’ principle. They told KRQE Saturday they do plan to re-file charges after the investigation is complete.
Santa Fe police say they are happy the DA plans to re-file. Adding that they are expediting the process to get more evidence, like blood work from Rosas, so that conditions of release can be set once charges are re-filed. Conditions of release could be to not be around alcohol or access to a firearm.
Rosas has one other prior DWI charge. He does also have other charges of assault, trespassing, burglary, and drug charges dating back to 2007.