Raton family seeking justice after shooting

New Mexico

RATON, N.M. (KRQE) – A young New Mexico man with a promising future is in the hospital after getting shot over the weekend. Now, his family is calling for justice.

Vernon Edwards, 19, is known by family and friends as a selfless protector and that’s exactly what he was doing late Saturday night at a car wash off of 2nd Street in Raton. When he tried to protect his cousin, who was involved in a fight with two other people. Unfortunately, Edwards is the one who ended up hurt.

“They shot him, yes, that’s hard to swallow; that hurts my heart but him laying there, playing dead so you guys wouldn’t shoot him no more [sic] and kick him in his face no mercy, no mercy at all for my son,” said Nikki Sanchez, Edwards’ mother. 

Police said after the shots were fired, the suspects, Tristian Gallegos and a 17-year-old boy who police said was the gunman, ran away to a car that was waiting for them. Sanchez says she’s all too familiar with the suspects. “They are trouble makers of Raton,” said Sanchez. “I’ve known them since they were little.” 

Police said Edwards was flown to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque and suffered multiple gunshot wounds, including to his right leg. Sanchez said her son had a successful surgery Tuesday on that same leg but will most likely not be able to pursue his dream of joining the Army.

“He wants to protect us, I remember him telling me that when he was younger,” said Sanchez. “He wants to protect us, he told me.”  

Sanchez is still in shock that something like this happened to her son but at the same time is trying to stay positive and is grateful her son is alive. “For me, somebody was watching over my son,” said Sanchez. “And if not, those other bullets those other three would have gone through all the way they would have probably killed him.”  

Police said the 17-year-old suspect was taken into custody Monday and transported to the juvenile facility in Bernalillo County. No word on if the other suspect has been arrested. The family made a GoFundMe page, to help pay for Edwards’ medical bills.

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