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BREAKING: Fire set to cover up murder

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Police secure arrest warrants for two men

By Martin Salazar

UPDATED: Jose Montoya and Gary Esquibel, the two fugitives being sought in connection with the murder and arson that occurred on 12th Street early Saturday morning, were both captured in Albuquerque Sunday afternoon. Las Vegas Police Chief Christian Montaño said that LVPD investigative work led to the arrests.

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The man whose body was discovered inside an apartment that burned early Saturday morning was shot in the head during a fight, and then the shooter and another man torched the apartment to cover up the crime.

Those are the allegations contained in two arrest warrant affidavits prepared by Las Vegas police over the weekend.

The man killed was identified as Angel Arroyo, age and address unavailable.
Authorities secured arrest warrants for at least two suspects and were searching for them on Sunday.

Jose E. “Wicked” Montoya, 31, of the 300 block of Tecolote Street has been charged with an open count of murder, aggravated arson and a host of other crimes. Court documents allege that he was the shooter.

Las Vegas Police Chief Christian Montaño stressed that Montoya is considered very dangerous.

Gary “Roach” Esquibel, 30, of Las Vegas, has been charged with arson, tampering with evidence, harboring or aiding a felon, conspiracy to commit arson and conspiracy to commit tampering. The owner of the property told authorities that the  apartment that was set on fire had been rented to Esquibel.

The apartment was at 1117 12th Street, at the southwest corner of 12th Street and San Francisco. The fire gutted the top floor of the structure, leaving the roof partially melted, windows blown out and insulation exposed.

Firefighters called to put out the blaze discovered the body and notified police.
Investigators found a witness who reported hearing a gunshot roughly between 1:30 and 2 a.m. Saturday. The witness also saw three vehicles leave the area. Then at about 4:30 a.m., he heard a “whoosh” sound, walked out of his residence and across the street and noticed the apartment on fire.

Investigator later learned that several people were at the residence at the time of the shooting. One woman told police she arrived at the apartment with the victim. She told investigators that the victim called Montoya a b****, and a fight ensued between Montoya and the victim.

The woman told police she heard a loud bang consistent with a gunshot, and when she turned around she saw the two men fighting for the gun.

According to the affidavit, the woman told police that Montoya ended up with the gun and started to pistol whip Arroyo with it.

She told police she asked Montoya to stop, but Montoya then hit her with the gun. She said Montoya then pointed the gun and shot Arroyo on the left side of the head while he was on the ground.

Another woman who was at the residence at the time of the shooting confirmed the first woman’s version of events.

The second woman said Montoya came up with the idea to go back to the residence and burn the place. She told police she purchased a gas can from a South Grand Avenue gas station and filled it with gasoline because she was afraid that Montoya would harm her. She said they drove back to the apartment, everyone got down from the car and went inside.

Among the people inside the apartment were Montoya and Esquibel, the woman told police.  She said Montoya and Esquibel began to pour gas in the apartment.
“She said they walked out of the apartment and Roach and Wicked lit the apartment on fire,” the affidavit states.

Besides murder and arson, Montoya has been charged with two counts of conspiracy, tampering with evidence, aggravated battery, aggravated assault and felon in possession of a firearm.

It’s unclear whether charges are pending against any of the other individuals present during the homicide and arson.