The Santa Fe woman accused of fatally shooting a 19-year-old man at a neighbor’s house party late Saturday may have called 911 herself that night, reporting someone was being “sacrificed,” according to a criminal complaint filed by police Monday.
Beverly Melendez, 64, who is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Rodrigo Enriquez Garay, told a detective during an interview early Sunday that she became angry about the party, walked to her rear wall with a rifle, “flipped out” and returned to her bedroom but couldn’t remember what happened, Santa Fe police Detective Jacob Parrish wrote in the complaint.
Just after midnight Sunday, two family members drove the wounded Enriquez Garay from the home in the 1800 block of Hopewell Street to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, according to police. Enriquez Garay was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Melendez, who lives in the back bedroom of a home in the 1800 block of Quapaw Street, across a small arroyo just north of the location of the party, was taken into custody at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday after SWAT and crisis negotiation teams surrounded the home.
Police are still investigating the shooting.
According to the criminal complaint, a shooting witness who drove Enriquez Garay to the hospital in the bed of his white pickup told officers Enriquez Garay had been shot at a house party by a female neighbor who yelled at them and then fired several gunshots.
The driver also told police he had recalled hearing the woman calling for her cat. When he saw Enriquez Garay fall to the ground, he and another male put him into the bed of his pickup and drove to the hospital.
Blood was found in the bed of the pickup, according to the complaint.
Parrish wrote in the complaint that dispatch had received a call from someone that night identifying herself as “Beverly.” The woman told 911 about a potential “human sacrifice” occurring in the area of the shooting, Parrish said.
Parrish wrote he and other officers responded to the Quapaw Street home. From the outside, he heard what he thought sounded like a woman calling for her cat.
After officers began making announcements for the occupants to come out, three females, including Melendez, exited and were detained, according to the complaint. Inside the back bedroom, officers found unspent .22-caliber bullet casings and a rifle sheath.
Officers also found a spent .22-caliber casing in the backyard of the home near the rear wall where witnesses said the gunshots came from, the complaint said.
The complaint did not say whether the firearm suspected to have been used in the shooting had been recovered.
A 68-year-old housemate of Melendez said Monday that she and her niece, who also lives there, never heard any shooting that night, nor any noise from the neighbors.
“I didn’t hear anything,” said the woman, who would agree only to be identified as Rose. “We were sound asleep when, all of the sudden, this blowhorn and bright light woke us up saying, ‘Come on out with your hands up.’ ”
Rose, who said she is almost completely blind, walked out out of the home to find Melendez talking with someone, presumably police.
She said that although Melendez had previously complained about the neighbors and “has a hot temper at times,” she considered her a friend and never thought she would shoot someone.
“I don’t she think she really ever wanted to hurt anybody,” said Rose, breaking into tears. “We’re shocked with what’s happened. I feel so bad that a young man was killed.”
She said Melendez worked for a local chocolatier and kept mostly to herself, locking the door to her room when she was at home.
Police also temporarily detained Rose and her niece and seized their cellphones and computers, she said. They were held at the hospital overnight for several hours, she said.
Parrish said he was told by officers that Melendez, who was detained in the back seat of a patrol vehicle outside the home, was arguing with officers and trying to get out of her restraints.
Melendez agreed to speak with Parrish and told him she lived in the back bedroom of the home, owned a .22-caliber rifle and had fired it the back yard three days earlier, he said.
Parrish wrote that in a later interview at the police department, Melendez told him that she had several altercations with her neighbors, saying they had loud house parties and ran a generator throughout the night, which she said constantly aggravated her and prevented her from sleeping.
Melendez told Parrish that on Saturday night, she became angry at the party, walked into her backyard with her rifle and peered over the back wall using a small step ladder, “flipped out, and returned back to her bedroom but could not remember what happened,” the detective wrote.
Parrish said he explained to Melendez that someone in the back yard of the Hopewell Street home had been shot and died.
“Ms. Melendez began to cry, and placed both of her hands upon her head,” Parrish wrote. She then “began talking lowly to herself, but I could hear her say, ‘I’m so sorry,’ ‘It shouldn’t have happened,’ ‘kneejerk,’ and ‘stupidy,’ ” he wrote.
Melendez again told the detective she did not remember firing the rifle. After exiting the interview room, Parrish said Melendez “was observed telling herself, ‘What the [expletive] did I do?’ ”
An initial court hearing for Melendez is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutors said in a court filing asking for her Monday arraignment to be postponed that they were considering a motion to hold her in custody pending trial.