AP NEWS

Police: Armed Santa Fe teen now suspect in three shootings

May 3, 2019

As the search continues for a 16-year-old Santa Fe boy accused of shooting his mother’s boyfriend Monday, police now suspect the teen is connected to two separate shooting incidents on Wednesday.

Police said they believe Hunter Woods, a Santa Fe High School student, shot his mother’s 39-year-old boyfriend, who remains in critical condition at a local hospital, shortly after midnight Monday at the family’s midtown apartment complex, Avaria of Santa Fe Apartments on Lorca Drive, and then fled in his mother’s car. Woods faces charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and tampering with evidence, according to an arrest warrant.

No one was injured in the latest two shootings, reported around 6 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on Santa Fe’s south side, and no one was arrested, according to police reports.

But the Santa Fe Police Department said in a news release issued Thursday that Woods is a suspect in both shootings, and he is considered armed and dangerous.

In the first incident, the owner of a red Pontiac told police that “a known male” had shot up his vehicle in the 3500 block of Charley Bentley Drive. A second vehicle also was struck.

A separate police report from a 2018 shooting incident involving Woods at the Avaria apartments said he had been accused of threatening another teen who owned a red Pontiac and lived at the same address on Charley Bentley Drive. In that case, police were called to Avaria after a fight between Woods, then 15, and an 18-year-old man who had fired gunshots in the air. The man was driven to and from the scene by the teen who owns the red Pontiac, according to the police report.

In the second incident Wednesday, a woman reported that group of men or teen boys were arguing near Las Acequias Park on Calle Atajo when one of them fired a handgun at another.

At both shooting sites, witnesses described the shooter leaving a vehicle similar to the one Woods is suspected of taking from his mother — a silver 2016 Kia Rio sedan, with New Mexico license plate 890SXN and tinted rear passenger windows. Witnesses said there were at least two young men in the vehicle, and one witness gave a description of one of the men that was “was consistent with Hunter,” police said.

Police have been urging Woods to turn himself in.

Deputy Chief Ben Valdez said Woods’ mother told investigators she has been in touch with her son and has been asking him to turn himself in, but he has been resisting because he is scared.

Valdez said Woods is suspected of shooting his mother’s boyfriend in the abdomen with what was believed to be a shotgun during a “disagreement or family dispute” at the Avaria apartments. Police also believe Woods took the shotgun with him, Valdez said.

He added that police want to talk with Woods to “get his side of what happened.”

Police have not been able to corroborate claims that Woods had come to his mother’s defense during the incident, and have noted she did not suffer any injuries.

However, an affidavit for a search warrant for the mother’s apartment, filed Monday in the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, said Woods’ mother called 911 after the shooting to report that “her boyfriend had tried to attack her with a bat and her son then intervened with a shotgun.”

According to the affidavit, the mother told police Woods had fired an initial warning shot to get the boyfriend to stop and then a second shot that hit the man.

Police found the man lying on his back in the front doorway of the home, bleeding from the abdomen. The boyfriend, who was still awake and alert, the affidavit said, told officers he had “had heard a noise downstairs, and a black male shot him.”

Woods, who is white, is believed to have run from the apartment through a rear sliding glass door before police arrived, the affidavit said.

A spent shotgun shell was found next to a baseball bat at the top of a staircase, and there was a shotgun blast hole in the wall of an upstairs bedroom. A detective wrote in the affidavit that it appeared Woods fired first from the upstairs and then downstairs as the boyfriend was near the front door.

In an interview at the police station, Woods’ mother repeatedly declined to give a statement, the affidavit said.