Police: Teen was using stolen weapon for target practice

Jared Tucker: Portales News-Tribune Friends of shooting victim Angel Vale console each other shortly after learning of her death Thursday afternoon. Police said a 13-year-old boy is being charged with burglary in connection with the case.

Jared Tucker

A 13-year-old Portales boy charged with stealing the weapon used in Thursday’s homicide was shooting at targets in the victim’s backyard in the days before she was shot, police say.

Angel Vale, a 22-year-old Eastern New Mexico University graduate student, was found shot to death in the sideyard of 1217 N. Ave. A, a residence she shared with her boyfriend.

Portales Deputy Police Chief Lonnie Berry said “numerous” .22-caliber shell casings and items used for targets were found in the victim’s backyard and in a storage shed behind the house.

“Basically what we think is as soon as he found the gun in (the house), he would get the gun, come out and shoot it, then put it back,” Berry said.

The gun, recovered from a trash bin in an alley near the boy’s home, belonged to the victim’s boyfriend, police said.

Police have charged the boy, who lives next door to the victim, with burglary. He is being held at a juvenile detention center in Clovis.

Police have declined to identify the boy, citing his age.

Berry said police have no other suspects in the shooting.

Berry said according to family members, the victim and her boyfriend had several break-ins to their home recently, but none were reported to the police.

Berry also provided details Monday on Vale’s day before she was shot.

Vale began moving out of her home around 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning, and had made several trips to a new home, according to Berry. Vale talked with her boyfriend multiple times during the day about the cleaning and preparation of their new home, Berry said.

“We determined that a person living nearby had actually seen her around 3 o’clock,” Berry said.

Raymond Vale said his daughter was moving out because she was scared by the break-ins.

Berry said co-workers at the Something Different Grill called the victim about 6 p.m. Thursday when she failed to show up for work, but their calls were not answered.

Berry said Vale’s clothing at the time of her death indicated she had not prepared to go to work.

Police believe she was shot between 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. A co-worker found her body outside her residence about 7 p.m.

Berry said Vale was shot three times —