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Teen charged in Santa Fe shooting death of Michigan man

October 13, 2018

Santa Fe police served 17-year-old Zachary Gutierrez with an arrest warrant Thursday in the recent slaying of Richard Milan, a 64-year-old Michigan man who was shot at the intersection of Airport Road and Lucia Lane.

Gutierrez, who police say has been detained since Saturday on unrelated charges, is facing counts of murder and tampering with evidence in Milan’s death.

It’s not the first time Gutierrez has been behind bars, facing charges in an armed encounter. When he was 14, police reports say, he was arrested after two women reported he had pointed a loaded gun at them on the same night.

Milan, traveling home to Kalamazoo, Mich., with his wife after a trip to California, stopped to see family in Santa Fe on Sept. 26. Police say he was walking the couple’s dog on Airport Road around 9 p.m. when he ran into a group of teens at Lucia Lane, in front of a now-shuttered McDonald’s.

One teen girl who was at the scene told police “some words were exchanged between the ‘Old Man walking the dog’ ” and Gutierrez, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Gutierrez became “very aggressive,” the girl said.

Gutierrez started the altercation, the girl told police, and was “in the ‘Old Man’s face.’ ”

When she started to walk away, the girl said, she heard one shot and then turned to see Gutierrez shoot Milan two times with a black handgun. Gutierrez leaned over Milan, “looking at him and laughing,” she said, according to the affidavit.

Milan was shot twice, the affidavit says — once in his upper left thigh and again in his left buttock — and died of blood loss.

One of the gunshots severed the femoral artery in his left leg.

Police have identified all four of the other teens at the scene, ranging in age from 16 to 19, according to Lt. Paul Joye. None of them have been charged.

However, the lieutenant said, police “haven’t ruled that out” as they continue to investigate.

According to police, Gutierrez and the group ran from the crime scene and asked friends to pick them up.

The following week, the affidavit says, a tipster familiar with the group called police claiming to know the identities of the shooting suspects.

Court documents say one of the teen girls at the shooting also was at the scene of an incident at the Tuscany at St. Francis apartments earlier this year, in which gunshots prompted a SWAT response and a shelter-in-place order at two nearby schools.

Gutierrez has a “pretty extensive history” of encounters with Santa Fe County law enforcement, Joye said.

Court documents related to those incidents are sealed from public view because Gutierrez is a minor.

Greg Gurulé, a spokesman for the Santa Fe Police Department, provided a dispatch log showing nearly two dozen law enforcement incidents involving Gutierrez — including incidents in which he was listed as a victim of a crime, was interviewed in relation to a crime or was a suspect.

The earliest of those reports show Gutierrez was involved in a referral to the state Children, Youth and Families Department when he was 4 and again when he was 5. He also has been listed as a missing person at least twice.

In August, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office posted a missing-juvenile alert for Gutierrez, saying he had a warrant for his arrest. Sheriff’s office spokesman Juan Ríos said Gutierrez had cut off his GPS monitor in that case.

Gutierrez also is listed as a suspect in a handful of thefts, including an auto theft this year, two thefts in 2017 and an assault in 2016. Few of those police reports were immediately available Thursday.

Police did provide a report on a 2016 incident in which Gutierrez and another boy were arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The police report says the two boys approached a woman and her boyfriend on Cerrillos Road sometime around 2 a.m., and one of the teens — later identified as Gutierrez — pulled out a gun and chambered a round.

The couple left the area, and police found Gutierrez, who was then 14, and another teen boy with bloodshot, watery eyes, smelling of alcohol.

Police found a loaded .45 Ruger in the bushes and arrested Gutierrez on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, being a minor in possession of alcohol and unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon, the report says.

Gutierrez and the same friend had been accused of robbing a Denver tourist of her purse at gunpoint near the Santa Fe Plaza just hours before, according to police reports.

CYFD spokesman Henry Varela would not confirm whether Gutierrez was ever taken into state custody, saying a family’s history with the agency is confidential.

Jeff Gephart, a spokesman for Santa Fe Public Schools, would not immediately confirm whether Gutierrez was enrolled in a local school.

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