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Four arrested in Española teen’s slaying

October 8, 2018

Urban Martinez, the father of a young Española man shot to death late Thursday evening, found a small measure of solace Sunday morning when a state police officer allowed him to hold a pair of handcuffs that had clamped the wrists of one of the suspects in his son’s murder.

“I got some relief from that,” he said.

A state police spokeswoman said authorities arrested four suspects in the killing of 18-year-old Cameron Martinez near Ohkay Hotel Casino — aided in part when Mark Timothy Hice, 22, and Brittany Garcia, 21, walked into the Albuquerque state police office and said they and two others — Anton Martinez, 19, of Santa Cruz, and Axel Zamarron, 17, of Española — played a role in the shooting. Three other people riding in a car with Cameron Martinez were wounded.

“Hice and Garcia turned themselves in,” said state police spokeswoman Lt. Elizabeth Armijo. “They knew we were looking for them.”

Anton Martinez — no relation to Cameron Martinez — surrendered to state police in Española early Sunday morning, Armijo said. Police then arrested Zamarron at his Española residence Sunday.

Urban Martinez said he had no doubt law enforcement would apprehend suspects in his son’s death, but acknowledged the relief he felt when they gave him the news.

“They worked feverishly and kept me updated on what was going on,” he said in a telephone interview Sunday afternoon. “One detective told me they would not rest until they caught the person who shot my son.”

Police have charged Hice, Anton Martinez and Zamarron with first-degree murder, shooting at or from a motor vehicle resulting in great bodily harm, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two charges of tampering with evidence.

The police report suggests Garcia did not fire a gun, but she is being charged with two counts of tampering with evidence. She is identified in the news release as Hice’s girlfriend. Garcia and Hice are from Ojo Caliente, according to state police.

An online search of court records shows Hice was charged with battery and false imprisonment in 2015, but the case was dismissed by prosecutors. That same year he pleaded guilty to a charge of causing criminal damage to property but the charge was deferred and dismissed. He also has appeared in both Santa Fe and Española magistrate court on a number of speeding charges, most of which were dismissed.

Online court records indicate Anton Martinez is slated to appear in Española Magistrate Court in early November on a charge of driving with a suspended license and expired registration tags and not having insurance.

Armijo said she could not say whether Zamarron has a criminal background because he is a juvenile. Rio Arriba Magistrate Court documents say Zamarron was involved in a fistfight that escalated into the shooting and killing of 17-year-old Nicholas Kaye of Ohkay Owingeh in Española in June.

According to those documents, Zamarron was driving the car in which Kaye was riding and engaged one of the two suspects in that shooting, Jonathan Avila, in a brawl before shots were fired. Zamarron is not facing any charges in that crime. Police arrested Avila and Daniel Suarez in the killing.

In the Cameron Martinez shooting, police said they don’t believe the victims had any prior involvement with the suspects and were targeted by mistake.

According to a state police news release, Hice told officers he feared there was a group of people out to shoot him. He arranged Thursday with Anton Martinez and Zamarron to shoot anyone Hice felt was a threat, authorities said. All three men were armed with semi-automatic handguns.

According to state police, Hice said he and Anton Martinez, as well as other occupants, were riding in a white Kia Optima driven by Garcia on N.M. 68 when Hice saw a blue vehicle approaching at a high rate of speed. Hice told investigators he saw the car as a threat and that he, Martinez and Zamarron — who was driving nearby in a separate tan Nissan — opened fire on the vehicle from their vehicles, the news release said.

Cameron Martinez was killed by gunfire and two females and a male riding with him were wounded. Those victims have since been released from the hospital and are in stable condition, according to a state police news release.

First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna said in a news release Sunday that he will be filing criminal charges against all four defendants.

“I am angry and disgusted by this evil, horrific act of violence that left three innocent young people severely wounded and an exceptional young man dead,” he said in a news release.

Cameron Martinez’s death has shaken many in Northern New Mexico. A 2018 graduate of Española Valley High School, he was a well-liked and respected member of the school’s basketball team and was one of several actors featured in a September television advertisement for Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Democratic nominee for governor.

He recently had started working in a student program in the information technology department at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Police booked Zamarron into the juvenile detention center in Santa Fe, while the other three suspects were booked into the Rio Arriba County Adult Detention Center, Armijo said.

Urban Martinez said his son would want the family to stay strong and intact during this time of tragedy.

“He wouldn’t want to see us go down in any sense or form,” he said. “Our family is not gonna go down because of this. We’re gonna be strong. It’s not going to get any easier, but we’re in a good space.”

He said the family is planning a memorial service for his son, which likely will be held at the Española Valley High gym, as well as a funeral Mass and burial this week.

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