Charge filed in fatal fight

Courtesy photo Lucio Ramirez, 22, of Portales is charged with hitting Marvin Silva, 34, of Belen in the head with a hammer.

By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer

A Portales man is charged with aggravated battery in a fight that led to the stabbing death of 25-year-old Marco Bonilla of Portales.

But police said Thursday no one has been charged with killing Marco Bonilla as investigators are still sorting through evidence.

Portales Police Deputy Chief Lonnie Berry said Lucio Ramirez, 22, of Portales is charged with hitting Marvin Silva, 34, of Belen in the head with a hammer. He said police have turned information over to the District Attorney’s office to determine the circumstances of Marco Bonilla’s death and decide how to proceed.

Berry said police determined the Nov. 23 brawl ending in Marco Bonilla’s death began with three Portales residents — Marco Bonilla, his brother Rodrigo Bonilla, whose age was unavailable, of Portales and Ramirez — arriving by automobile at a house on Ivy Street.

The three got out of the vehicle and armed themselves with a hammer, a green pipe and a board, he said.

“Even the people interviewed from the vehicle said they armed themselves immediately,” Berry said.

Ramirez told police he approached Silva, who was at the residence, and hit him in the head with the hammer, Berry continued.

Then, he said, 53-year-old Leroy Salas of Portales was struck with the hammer and the board. Berry said he couldn’t assume who hit Salas, who was either at the house or riding by.

“There’s a little dispute on that at this time,” he said, explaining statements didn’t agree on the point.

After being struck, Berry said, Salas ran to North Avenue A and Hickory Street. Further fighting took place there and Bonilla received multiple stab wounds from which he later died, Berry said.

Berry said he couldn’t comment on precisely what happened at the intersection.

“We do know that almost everyone out at that time was involved with some sort of weapon,” he said.

Police believe most of the men in the car followed Salas to Avenue A and Hickory, but Silva did not, Berry said.

As for Ramirez’s motives for hitting Silva, Berry said he told police he was “looking for a fight.”

“I don’t think that they had a long relationship,” Berry said of Silva and Ramirez.

He said he believes Ramirez was looking for someone else in that area, but police are still investigating the identification of that person and why Ramirez was angry.

Police also don’t believe there was pre-existing animosity between Salas and the three men in the car.

Berry believes officials will determine a course of action soon.

Ramirez was in the Roosevelt County Detention Center Thursday in lieu of a $20,000 cash-only and ankle-bracelet bond.