Clovis police officials detain people for questioning in the 500 block of Sheldon Street Wednesday during a raid. CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth.
By Darrell Todd Maurina
A Clovis Police Department SWAT team on Wednesday picked up the last of three suspects wanted in connection with a February shooting.
Josh Martinez, 19, was arrested without incident about 3:30 p.m. in the home of friends living at the 500 block of Sheldon, Detective Keith Farkas said. Martinez faces charges of accessory to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, accessory to shooting from a motor vehicle and accessory to leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.
Farkas said two other people, cousins Wilford Salas, 17, and Demetrio Salas, 18, both of Clovis, were picked up several weeks ago during an unrelated traffic stop by state police. Wilford Salas faces the same charges as Martinez; Demetrio Salas is charged with doing the shooting.
The charges stem from a Feb. 8 incident at the Prince Lounge and Package in which police said Ricardo Urquizo, 21, of Clovis, was shot once in the abdomen by a bullet fired from a red Dodge Neon. Urquizo was airlifted to Lubbock for treatment of his injuries but Farkas said he’s now out of the hospital and doing well.
Farkas said Martinez didn’t believe the officers were serious at first.
“He tried to go out the back door. In fact he told me he was looking around to see what was going on because he had friends play jokes on him like this before,” Farkas said.
Martinez surrendered without incident after he saw the heavily armed SWAT officers approaching to arrest him, Farkas said.
Sgt. Rich Johnson of the Clovis Police Department said the SWAT team was used because Martinez was accused of “crimes of a violent nature” and officers wanted to be ready to handle him if he tried to resist. Johnson said the raid was a joint operation involving more than a dozen officers from the Clovis Police Department, New Mexico State Police, and Curry County Sheriff’s Office.
Farkas said after cordoning off the blocks around the home, SWAT team members prevented people from entering the area and told everyone already in the neighborhood either to leave the area or to go into the part of their home farthest away from the address being raided.
Neighbor John Lucero said he is feeling more and more unsafe in Clovis.
“They call this place ‘Little Chicago.’ There have been a lot of raids and a lot of people acting up around here,” Lucero said. “Plus, these guys are shooting each other like dogs around here. It’s all over drug deals, and there are a lot of things the cops should be doing they aren’t. They should be watching a lot of these drug houses and shutting them down.”
Another neighbor who declined to identify herself said she worried about what her kids would think after seeing repeated armed raids in her neighborhood.
“My kids are outside and don’t need to be seeing people running around with guns in through yards and thinking it’s all right,” she said. “They can be running through the yards and one of these days they’re going to hurt somebody.”