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Suspect in Mass Slaying Surrenders Quietly

January 28, 1991

CHIMAYO, N.M. (AP) _ A 29-year-old man suspected in the fatal shootings of two lawmen and possibly five other people, including his girlfriend, and the wounding of a sixth person, surrendered to police after evading a manhunt.

Ricky Abeyta, 29, turned himself in to New Mexico State Police in Albuquerque Sunday night and was arrested on suspicion of homicide, Officer Dan Lichtenberger said.

Abeyta was in police custody in Santa Fe early today pending further action on his case. Details about a possible court appearance were not immediately available.

He is suspected in the slaying Saturday of state police Officer Glen Huber, 35, and Rio Arriba County sheriff’s Deputy Jerry Martinez, 30, in a rural cluster of mobile homes a few miles from this community 100 miles north of Albuquerque.

The two officers were killed after they arrived at Abeyta’s home to serve a restraining order on him at his girfriend’s request, police said.

Abeyta also is a suspect in at least some of the other deaths, state police Sgt. David Osuna said. It remained unclear if any of the other victims were shot before the officers arrived. Police also were investigating the possibility that someone else might was involved in the shootings.

Also killed were Abeyta’s girlfriend, Ignacita R. Sandoval, 36; her daughter, Mary Ellen F. Sandoval, 19; Mary Ellen’s 6-month-old son, Justin Gonzales; Justin’s father, Macario Gonzales, 19; and Cheryl Rendon, 25, Ignacita’s sister.

Eloy Sandoval, 13, a son of Ignacita, sustained gunshot wounds and was in serious but stable condition Sunday at University Hospital in Albuquerque.

State police Maj. John Denko described the incident as a domestic dispute that caught the officers by surprise.

Abeyta and Ignacita Sandoval had lived together for about a year, but the woman wanted to move out, said Carol Vigil, state special commissioner for domestic violence.

Osuna of the state police said shots had been reported fired at Abeyta’s home before the two law officers arrived.

Huber was shot in the head through the window of his car and Martinez’ body was found on the ground near his vehicle, police said.

Circumstances behind Abeyta’s surrender were unknown.

″Basically, we got a call from the dispatcher that his (Abeyta’s) brother- in-law, his older brother and his sister had brought him in to our office and it was his decision to surrender,″ Lichtenberger said.

The officer said Abeyta was quiet but cooperative.

″He didn’t really volunteer anything. He was pretty quiet,″ he said. ″He didn’t resist. He didn’t give us any problems.″

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