An Española man was arrested Aug. 16 after Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Cannon built a case against him for the shooting of Fernando Martinez, 38, Hernandez.
Cannon spoke to Martinez and witnesses at about 8:30 a.m. at Martinez’s Hernandez trailer. Martinez and two witnesses told Cannon Miguel Rodriguez, 37, went to the trailer with Rodriguez’s wife, who was Martinez’s ex-girlfriend and two other men.
Martinez identified three of his attackers immediately as Rodriguez, Melanie Salazar and Aaron Salazar. There was also man known as J.T. or T.J. whom Martinez knew by street name, but not his real name.
Aaron Salazar and Melanie Salazar got out of a four-door pickup and approached Martinez, he told Cannon. Rodriguez got out of the back left door and approached Martinez. Words were exchanged and he started shooting at Martinez.
Martinez said he ran for cover and was hit in the ankle as he ran toward his father’s trailer, next door to his own. Witnesses stated as many as five shots were fired.
The reason for the attack was clear in Martinez’s mind.
“Martinez repeatedly stated that the motive for the shooting centered on Melanie Salazar,” Cannon wrote.
Melanie Salazar had left Rodriguez and started a relationship with Martinez. That relationship ended a few days before the shooting and Martinez said Melanie Salazar returned to Rodriguez.
Cannon looked at Martinez’s wound and determined the bullet had gone through. Cannon and Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Sgt Robert Vigil searched the area for the bullet, spent shell casings or other evidence, but only found a blood trail from where Martinez was shot.
The two officers reviewed surveillance from Martinez’s trailer. The recording showed Martinez watering flowers near his father’s trailer. A pickup arrives and one person exits the driver’s side and another from the passenger side. Cannon writes based on Martinez’s statement these two are Aaron and Melanie Salazar (relationship unknown).
“A short time passed and one person exits the left, rear passenger door towards the tailgate,” Cannon wrote. “This person has an extended arm which appears to be pointing toward the trailer.”
Law enforcement looked throughout the day for the three suspects. Sheriff’s deputies went to homes on Simmons Lane and Prince Drive after finding information on two of the suspects.
The night of the shooting New Mexico State Police located Rodriguez and Melanie Salazar at the Alcalde Homerun Pizza. Their vehicle had run out of gas.
Cannon met with State Police in Alcalde and it was agreed State Police would take the two suspects on active arrest warrants. Cannon could attempt an interview at State Police headquarters.
The Cadillace was towed to State Police District 7 headquarters.
Melanie Salazar would not talk to Cannon. Rodriguez denied being in the area of the shooting but did acknowledge he knew Martinez and stated, “Yea I wanted to hurt him.”
Following the 8:20 p.m., Aug. 17 issuance of a search warrant for the red Cadillac, Cannon and Vigil searched for evidence.
Among drugs and paraphernalia Cannon located a Ruger model SP101 .357 handgun. It was in a hole under the carpet about where the driver’s foot would rest while pressing on the gas pedal.
The handgun had five shells in it, two were spent. They also found .357 and .38 caliber ammunition loose on the driver’s seat. Both can be fired from a Ruger .357.
The incident report is not clear as to why Rodriguez and Melanie Salazar were not held but following the car search, a warrant was issued for Rodriguez on the shooting charges.
He was located the evening of Aug. 21 by Española City Police in the Walmart parking lot in the same red Cadillac. Deputies and State Police coordinated with city police and Rodriguez was again arrested.
Due to his heroin addiction, Rodriguez was not cleared for incarceration and was released into the care of Presbyterian Española Hospital.
Hospital staff informed E-911 that Rodriguez had left the hospital at approximately 1:53 a.m., Aug. 22.
No charges are pending, nor court dates set in the matter.