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Police confirm victim in June homicide, seek unknown suspect

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By Ryan Lowery

Police have identified the man shot and killed inside a home on the city’s west side, more than a month after the slaying took place.

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Las Vegas Police say 27-year-old Cruz M. Gallegos died of a single gunshot wound at a home in the 1100 block of Chavez Street on June 15.

Police have also named 49-year-old Arturo Ruiz, of Las Vegas, as a person of interest in the case, though Ruiz is not believed to have killed Gallegos, according to Commander Steve Pacheco of the Las Vegas Police Department.

“He was a person that was named as being at the scene. Not as the shooter, but as someone who may have witnessed it,” Commander Pacheco said.

However, Ruiz is not the only person of interest in the death of Gallegos, according to Commander Pacheco.

“We have another person we haven’t properly identified yet,” he said. “We’ve heard names, but haven’t been able to properly identify (them).”

According to Pacheco, investigators did not find any signs that a struggle took place prior to the shooting at the home on Chavez Street, and there were no signs of forced entry into the home. He said the homicide investigation is still being conducted, and he does not believe the unknown person of interest poses a danger to the public.

Until now, LVPD has refused to say much about the homicide investigation, or even confirm the name of the man killed. It was through a recently-filed court document related to Ruiz’s arrest that the Optic learned Ruiz was a person of interest in Gallegos’s death.

Ruiz was arrested July 9 on charges unrelated to the homicide. He is facing three felonies: two counts of tampering with evidence, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

His arrest occurred following a series of odd transmissions over a radio frequency used by police. 

Commander Pacheco told the Optic that during the morning of July 9, officers had been hearing non-police transmissions over the police radio. 

While on patrol near South Pacific Street and Independence Ave., Commander Pacheco heard the transmissions himself. In one, the name “Marcos” was used.

Police knew that a man named Marcos Ruiz lived in the area. They proceeded to his home on Union Street, and as officers arrived, they heard another non-police transmission over the radio: a man saying, “S--- it’s the narcos, go, Mom, go! I got the gun.”

A minivan drove away from the home as police arrived. Commander Pacheco said Marcos’ brother, Arturo Ruiz, was a passenger in the minivan, and according to court documents, not only was Arturo Ruiz a known felon who was a person of interest in the death of Gallegos, but police believed he had a warrant out for his arrest as well.

Police stopped the minivan and found Ruiz in the passenger seat holding a radio used by law enforcement; on the seat behind him, an officer spotted a black handgun.

Police arrested Ruiz, as well as 45-year-old Katherine A. Castillo, identified in court documents as Ruiz’s wife.

Police believe Ruiz had been in possession of the handgun, but handed it to Castillo at the time of the traffic stop. 

According to court documents, Castillo told police the gun belonged to her, but admitted to trying to hide it so Ruiz “would not get into trouble.” Castillo faces two felony charges of tampering with evidence.

Castillo was booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center on July 9, and released the next day on an unsecured bond. She is due in San Miguel Magistrate Court at 9 a.m. on Aug. 15.

Ruiz was booked into SMCDC on July 9, and released on July 16 after posting 10 percent of a $50,000 bond. 

He is scheduled to appear in San Miguel Magistrate Court at 10 a.m. on Aug. 13.