One dead in shooting
CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth/A witness buries his head in his hands behind a state police officer at the scene of a homicide on North Prince Street north of Wal-Mart in Clovis.
Clovis recorded its second homicide in five days on Tuesday night.
James Rogers, 42, was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of David Wilt, 47, police said. Both men are from Clovis.
“At 6:13 p.m., the Clovis Police Department dispatch center received a phone call from a third-party caller at 4220 North Prince that there was a gunshot victim at that location,” Lt. Rick Durham of the New Mexico State Police said.
Durham said officers confronted Rogers and took him into custody at the scene. Wilt was transported to Plains Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Durham said neither of the parties lived at the residence and he was not sure why they were at the residence. Durham said the motive for the shooting remained under investigation.
While Durham said he couldn’t release many details of the incident, he said the shooting was not a random act of violence.
“The victim and the suspect knew each other; it is not a drive-by,” Durham said.
The homicide was the sixth in Curry County this year, officials said; all but a July 4 vehicular homicide were shootings. A Clovis business owner was found dead at his shop on Thursday. No arrests have been made in that case.
The region also recorded three shooting deaths in two unrelated incidents on Feb. 28. Arrests have been made in connection with those cases.
Durham said 9th Judicial District Attorney Brett Carter was called to the scene of Tuesday’s slaying.
“We want to make sure our ‘i’s’ are dotted and our ‘t’s’ are crossed for prosecution,” Durham said.
Carter said he won’t know the exact charges until witness interviews are completed.
“What usually happens is the charge would be an open count of murder until we determine more details,” Carter said. “It will definitely be homicide, the only question is what degree of homicide.”
Durham said the case will now go to the agency’s Criminal Investigation Bureau.
“The state police operate a little differently from other agencies,” Durham said, noting that the initial officers on the scene call in specialists from around the state to assist in major crimes.
Although the incident occurred within county jurisdiction, Curry County Sheriff Roger Hatcher said his agency asked the state police to take charge.
“At this particular time we are investigating a double shooting, a homicide, and several burglaries, and we just don’t have the manpower to go after another full-scale investigation right now,” Hatcher said.
Hatcher said his department has some leads in its investigation of Thursday’s fatal shooting of J.C. Tucker at his auto salvage business.
“We are starting to interview people who knew Mr. Tucker and hoping to get a timeline on the last person who saw him so we have a better idea when it might have taken place,” Hatcher said. “We’re kind of fishing; we’ve got a little bit of evidence and we want to see where it goes.”