TAOS — A fight fueled by alcohol and cocaine on a night of partying in a warehouse on Dea Lane led to an accidental fatal shooting Thursday, the suspect told Taos police.

Ray Rivera, 38, faces a charge of first-degree murder. He is accused of killing 25-year-old Antonio Martinez.

A statement of probable cause filed in Taos County Magistrate Court says Rivera turned himself in to authorities shortly after the incident. He said he and Martinez had been partying with two other people when the fight broke out. He had intended to “pistol whip” Martinez, Rivera told police, but instead shot Martinez in the head.

Rivera left the warehouse after an initial altercation with Martinez that night, the statement says, but he later returned with his brother and a Hi-Point handgun. As Rivera and his brother entered the warehouse, Martinez and others tried to stop him, but the brothers made their way inside.

Another man present during the fight, Bryan Sandoval, tried to hold Rivera back and take the gun from him, the statement says, but Rivera broke loose. Shortly after he wrestled himself away from Sandoval, a shot rang out, Rivera and two others told police.

Rivera said he was not pointing the gun at Martinez when it fired.



Two of the witnesses told authorities they saw Rivera make a motion toward Martinez with the gun.

Another man said he didn’t see the gunshot and didn’t hear it because of loud music playing in the warehouse during the fight.

Rivera is being held at the Taos County jail. State prosecutors have filed a motion requesting pretrial detention, claiming Rivera would be a danger to the community if he were released before his trial.

Rivera is scheduled to appear Friday before 8th Judicial District Judge Jeffrey Shannon for both a preliminary hearing and a hearing on the motion seeking pretrial detention.

A version of this story first appeared in The Taos News, a sister publication of The Santa Fe New Mexican.

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