Joaquin S. Sanchez

Joaquin S. Sanchez

A 17-year-old West Las Vegas football player was shot and killed during a New Year’s Eve party. One of his teammates is in custody, charged with murder.

The shooting was reported Friday night at a home near County Road B41E and NM 3 in Ribera. New Mexico State Police arrived around 10:20 p.m. and found 17-year-old Joshua Vigil dead in the kitchen, the victim of a single gunshot wound.

Joaquin S. Sanchez, 18, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and negligent use of a deadly weapon.

Investigators determined that around a dozen teens were at a party at Sanchez’s home while his parents were not present, according to an arrest affidavit filed in San Miguel Magistrate Court. Only five teens were still at the home when police arrived.

During questioning by investigators, Sanchez said he’d consumed two beers and three shots of Crown Royal whisky and had become “agitated” because some guests were throwing trash on the floor, according to the affidavit.

Sanchez told police he retrieved a rifle from his parents’ bedroom. He said he didn’t think the rifle was loaded, and that he walked into the kitchen, pointed the rifle at Vigil’s head and pulled the trigger.

Police determined Vigil had died from a gunshot wound, and he was later pronounced dead by the Office of the Medical Investigator.

Multiple witnesses interviewed confirmed the details, with one witness saying he’d seen Sanchez with the rifle and that Sanchez said, “It’s not loaded,” according to the affidavit. The witness said he went outside and heard a gunshot. When he looked inside the home, he “saw blood splatter.”

During a search of the home, investigators located a .270 rifle, along with beer and liquor containers in the kitchen.

West Las Vegas Schools stated Saturday in a Facebook post that school counselors would be available at West Las Vegas High School for “students or staff members needing support.”

West Las Vegas Schools Superintendent Christopher Gutierrez could not be reached Monday for comment.

Sanchez was arrested Friday evening “without incident,” according to NMSP, and was booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center.

During a hearing Monday, Judge Christian Montaño set bond for Sanchez at $100,000. Under the conditions of release imposed by the court, he would be subject to house arrest with a GPS monitor if released before trial.

Those conditions will be reviewed by Judge Melanie Rivera at a hearing on Thursday, and Sanchez is scheduled to appear in San Miguel Magistrate Court Jan. 11 for a preliminary hearing. He remained in custody at SMCDC as of this writing.

Fourth Judicial District Attorney Tom Clayton told the Optic that because one of Vigil’s family members works for the district attorney’s office, the case will be turned over to prosecutors with the Eighth Judicial District, which typically covers Colfax, Union and Taos counties.

(3) comments

David Pacheco

By the way, your disclaimer about so called “hate speech” is anti-American and communist. The terms “safe and inclusive” are communist terms straight from the likes of Karl Marx and Saul Alinski. In America, we are free to say ANYTHING we want as long as we are not threatening violence. We do not submit to “political correctness” or fake “hate speech”, both communist ideologies. We say what we want when we want without fear because we are not cowards!

David Pacheco

Very interesting to see that district attorney Clayton points out the conflict of interest with Mr. Vigils family working within the court system. It would be nice to see consistency in the case of David Griego murdering John Serna, and the fact that two of the judges at the fourth judicial court are related to Mr. David Griego! As of today, District attorney Clayton refuses to file charges against Mr. David Griego, for murder or manslaughter, considering the FACT that Mr. Serna had a gunshot wound to the head and a gunshot wound to the heart! Self defense in NM is defined as shooting a man in the head and the heart, but only when your related to the judges!

Grace Montoya

My condolences to the family and friends the young man who lost his life because of a terrible senseless choice that was made in haste and impaired judgement! I heard such good things about both young men. My prayers are with the families, friends, and our community as well. Our lives can change in an instant and we change the lives of others by choices we make in haste or when our judgement is impaired! God heal, comfort, and bless all those involved! 🙏🙏🙏😭🙏🙏🙏

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