The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Roosevelt sheriff's office investigating fatal shooting

Family confirms Dora High graduate Derek Garcia killed.


July 28, 2019

PORTALES — A young man was killed and others were injured in an incident early Saturday at a residence just outside Portales.

Derek Garcia turned 24 this month and had "returned home to make his life in his hometown" after being honorably discharged in November 2018 from the U.S. Army, his mother told The News in a message Saturday. Garcia served overseas and completed 38 career jumps in his time as an Army paratrooper after graduating Dora High School in 2014. He is the eldest of six children and will be buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at a later date, wrote Annmarie Garcia.

Investigators with the Roosevelt County Sheriff Office, in conjunction with the 9th Judicial District's Major Crimes Unit, were "interviewing persons of interest" in connection with the incident, Sheriff Malin Parker told The News on Saturday morning.

Parker said he was notified "around 3:30" of the shooting and declined to share further details as to the identities of those involved or the location, except that it was outside the city of Portales.

District Attorney Andrea Reeb declined to confirm the identity of the deceased or name victims and referred questions back to Parker. She said people were "shot and stabbed" and that there were several individuals involved. Garcia's mother confirmed the details of his passing with The News on Saturday night.

Bill Hailer told The News the shooting took place mere feet from the city line at his neighbor's residence across the road on the 500 block of East 18th Street, just west of its intersection with South Kilgore Avenue.

Hailer and two other neighbors said there had been a gathering that night of young people and that the residents there had only been at the house the past month. None of them knew who lived there, and nobody was inside the house Saturday afternoon.

Hailer said he saw the body of a young man on the ground in front of the house Saturday morning and pointed to what he said were bloodstains still in the dirt. He said he picked up empty bottles leftover from the festivities while police worked at the scene in the morning, and pointed out cars still parked at the scene that afternoon from the night before.

"They probably scattered," Hailer said of the people in attendance. "But I don't think I ever heard fighting there before."

Hailer said his wife woke up around 2:45 a.m. to flashing lights on the street outside. Cory Griffith, in the house beside the residence, said his wife had awoken around 2:30 a.m. to the sound of several gunshots and called police.

"It was their third big party this month," added Griffith, who said the body was removed from the scene around 8 a.m. and that police cleared from the area and opened barriers from the block about two hours later.

Bob Gaudern stayed that night at his grandparents' residence beside the scene of the shooting and said cars started arriving at sundown Friday, estimating over 40 people in attendance at the gathering there. He said it was "a bit hectic" in the middle of the night Saturday during the initial police response but that he didn't pry.

"I saw (the body), but I tried very hard not to look at it," said Gaudern. "My heart goes out to the families of all those hurt. The lives of many changed (Saturday) night."


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