Two Charged In Fatal Burglary Attempt

Las Cruces – Las Cruces Police have charged two men for their involvement in Sunday morning's attempted burglary that resulted in the shooting death of 27-year-old Steve A. Martinez.

Mario Lee Aguilera, 25, of the 2400 block of Moonriver Loop, and Jesus Manuel Vazquez, 27, of the 5800 block of Lassiter Road, were arrested Sunday and both have been charged with one count each of aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon and conspiracy. Aguilera and Vazquez are being held at the Dona Ana County Detention Center with bond set at $50,000 each.

Just before 8 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 27, police were called to the Telshor Manor Apartments at 1410 Telshor Blvd. where investigators learned that two men attempted to break into an apartment. A 26-year-old resident of the apartment was apparently startled awake, grabbed a handgun, and opened fire at the intruders.

Martinez was struck by the gunfire and was found dead outside of the apartment.

Shortly after the shooting, a 2003 Pontiac Sunfire with expired registration tags, and being driven by Aguilera, was pulled over by a Dona Ana County Sheriff's deputy on south Triviz Drive near University Avenue. The deputy noticed what appeared to be blood on Aguilera and Vazquez. Shortly thereafter, the deputy arrested Aguilera for driving while intoxicated and Vazquez on outstanding warrants.

Las Cruces Police detectives learned that Martinez, Aguilera and Vazquez had been partying when Martinez asked for a ride to collect some money. Detectives learned that Martinez led the way in breaking into the apartment where he was shot as he entered the victim's bedroom. Aguilera and Vazquez attempted to drag Martinez from the apartment but then fled in the Pontiac Sunfire.

No charges are being sought against the burglary victim who fired the handgun.