Jay Wagers faces nearly a dozen charges tied to violent incidents Monday afternoon — including carjacking and armed robbery attempts and a shooting outside Owl’s Liquors that left a man with a gunshot wound to the head.

Lt. David Webb said Santa Fe police also are “looking at Wagers as a person of interest” in an early morning shooting Monday that left 39-year-old Joseph Aiello dead in a home on Alamosa Drive, also from a head wound.

Wagers, 25, has not been named as a suspect in the homicide, and police have not confirmed whether Aiello’s death is tied to the series of violence later in the day.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court, Wagers was charged with two counts of attempt to commit first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and breaking and entering in the Monday crime spree. He was also charged with two counts of battery upon a peace officer, attempt to commit armed robbery, criminal damage to property and three misdemeanors related to incidents that occurred following his arrest Monday in the parking lot of the Santa Fe Indian School.

Wagers is accused of shooting the man at Owl’s Liquors before running to Baca Street and Cerrillos Road, where he attempted several carjackings, according to a statement of probable cause.

Security footage from the liquor store on Hickox Street showed a “tan four-door sedan” pull into the parking lot of the store with multiple people inside, the statement said. The front passenger of the vehicle went into the store, while the driver and rear passenger, later determined to be Wagers, waited in the vehicle.

When the passenger returned to the sedan, a man walked up to it and spoke with people inside through the front passenger window. As the man spoke with the sedan’s occupants, the complaint said, “the rear driver-side passenger is seen partially exiting the vehicle and appeared to be using the vehicle’s door frame to hide.” The passenger then “pulled a gun from his waistband and waved it around carelessly.”

The man backed away, and the car drove toward him, with both the man and the car moving out of the range of the security camera. Shortly after, the complaint said, the vehicle headed south on Hickox Street and the man returned to the store, wounded.

Witnesses told police they heard at least three gunshots before the man came back into the store bleeding from a head wound, the statement said. Medical staff later determined he had been shot through his right temple and eye socket.

He was transported to a local hospital before being flown to the University of New Mexico Hospital for treatment.

Police believe Wagers ran from the store while the two other people fled in the sedan.

Multiple people reported a man with a gun had threatened them around 1:30 p.m. Monday in the area surrounding the intersection of Baca Street and Cerrillos Road.

One caller said the armed man had jumped on the hood of her car. Another said the man attempted to get in his vehicle and then pointed a gun at the car, and a third caller said he attempted to steal her purse at the Counter Culture Cafe on Baca Street.

A fourth caller told police a man who fit the description of Wagers had attempted to flag down her vehicle while she was near the intersection of Baca and Potencia streets. When she did not stop for him, she heard a gunshot, and her rear window and front windshield shattered.

“[The victim] stated the projectile entered and exited the headrest within an inch of where her head was,” the statement said.

Police found two .40-caliber shell casings, one in the parking lot of Owl’s Liquor and another on Baca Street.

Several nearby businesses and schools — including Santa Fe Indian School and the Early Learning Center at Kaune — were placed on lockdown as law enforcement searched for the suspects.

Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies found Wagers hiding in a gray Toyota truck in the Indian School parking lot, the agency said in a news release. He was armed with a .40-caliber handgun and a knife.

After his arrest, Wagers requested a lawyer and refused to speak with investigators, according to the statement.

When officers attempted to book him into a holding cell, Wagers struggled, the statement said, adding he later damaged a wall in the cell. An officer confronted him about the damage, and Wagers replied, “What are you going to do about it?” the statement said. He then spit on the officer’s shirt.

Wagers is familiar with Santa Fe police. Jail records show he has been arrested at least 14 times in in the city since 2014.

In 2019, he was charged with two counts of battery on a peace officer, two counts of resisting or evading an officer and assault, according to court records.

The charges stemmed from an episode of violence in a home on Alamosa Drive.

Police tried to grab Wagers’ arms to stop him as he walked away from the home, ignoring their commands, and he punched a female officer in the face and kneed a male officer in the back of his head.

The incident led to his conviction on a charge of battery upon a peace officer. He was also found guilty of motor vehicle theft, receiving stolen property and possession of narcotics between 2017 and 2019.

The Santa Fe Police Department is still investigating the Monday morning homicide at 2728 Alamosa Drive — at least the city’s seventh this year.

Webb said the department has received calls for service to the home before, but nothing as violent as Aiello’s death.

The Santa Fe man was a talented guitar player, said a friend who was in the home at the time of his death. She also described him as kind and helpful.

“When I became homeless once, I was robbed,” said the woman, who declined to give her name. “Joey gave me a new backpack and sleeping bag without a thought.”

She had known Aiello for about six years, the woman said, adding he was a “terrific man.”

Correction appended: This story has been amended to reflect the following correction: An earlier version incorrectly identified the shooting victim at Owl's Liquors as an employee of the store.

(21) comments

Michael Fine

If you can read this in there... Don't mess with my favorite liquor store. Thank you Owls for drowning my sorrows for all these years, I'm glad you're all OK.

stefan jarvis

this guy is clearly mentally imbalanced

Tom Ribe

Clearly he needs to be locked up for life, no chance of parole. Will the courts do that for us, for the people of Santa Fe?

Mark Ortiz

LOL, the SFNM comment section isn't The Giving Tree. I would say it's more a Whine and Cheese Festival.

Ernest Green

Guy has '187' tattooed on his neck? Surely a judge will see the wisdom in holding a fellow like this in custody for a stretch.

Khal Spencer

He should have 666 tattooed on his forehead.

Helen Goldberg

Having lived here just 2 years , I do not understand the justice system. How someone who " Jail records show he has been arrested at least 14 times in in the city since 2014" can not be in prison is absurd. Doesn't restorative justice indicate some type of restitution /reconciliation to the victim and accountability of the offender?

What is the criteria to determine an offender is not a danger to the community and is not appropriate for the "no bond program"?

I am not versed on civics but I assume the New Mexico Supreme Court justices are elected by the governor and district attorneys are elected by the people.

Given the upcoming election, I hear very little about the damage these programs have led to.

If not already done, perhaps a journalist can look at the violent crimes in the past year in Santa Fe and summarize the past criminal histories of the offenders including the sentences, attorneys and judges involved and the evidence of "restorative justice" that took place.

Gerald Joyce

Well said.

paul pacheco

Get him off the streets! And this time keep him off! Are you listening PD and DA? No botched investigations and/or poorly executed prosecutions! To be continued.....

Mark Ortiz

1st , thank you to all law enforcement agencies and staff involved and 2nd , my thoughts are with the employee from Owls Liquors. Hopefully, the owner will take care of you. Sidebar, if we had medicare for all, costs wouldn't fall strictly on a small business owner.

Of all the factors that make up the problem that is Jay Wagers, keep in mind that since bond reform everyone is released unless the District Attorney’s office makes an argument that they are too dangerous to be released on conditions or ankle bracelet. Another sidebar, after watching a segment on KOB news, Albuquerque courts Pretrial Services admitted they don't monitor those on ankle bracelets after hours, weekends, or holidays, see link below, I ask what about Santa Fe's First Judicial District courts.

So if the lawmakers possible good intention was to alleviate the financial burden of some whom have made poor choices, for whatever reason, well, you can agree or disagree, I'm not here to sell you on it, that would be factor one, after an arrest It sounds like it is now on DA Carmack-Altwies and was on previous DA Serna to prove this piece of $hit no longer deserves to be free. The decision will again lay at the feet or either Judge Ellington or Marlowe Sommer. So, yes, we should all be seriously concerned since it was this same equation that afforded Jay to be on the street on Monday, as this wasn't his first rodeo.


Khal Spencer

I think come judicial retention elections, its time to take a hard look at the opinions of the folks on the bench. Indeed, this constitutional amendment was supposed to as you say, take the burden off the indigent for offenders who don't pose a risk to the public. It seems at times that the judges have a pretty hard time convincing themselves that ANY of these people are a public risk.

Let's see what happens with this fine young man.

Mark Ortiz

I'm no lawmaker or lawyer or judge, but it seems the judicial system, law enforcement, , district attorneys, advocates could get together with legislatures and fine tune the amendment in that, there would be an set of guidelines, check list, that would take take, other variables out of the equation. I'm looking human behavioral factors. If a DA's office is understaffed and stressed and doesn't give each case it's due attention. Maybe they send in an assistant DA who's sick, having a bad day, is generally and apathetic person, unqualified for the job, but he/she is the best hiring the office could find, and the Judge, is hungry cause the case if heard right before lunch, or do they have a toothache, is one of their kids sick, or loved one dying, etc etc etc,. If our DA's office is not focused on or qualified for each case or our Judges are deciding on a hunch, how will they do right by the public and the defendant. Jesus, there has to be some indicators of the defendant continuing to be a threat to public safety a list of boxes to check that would keep the human condition out of the decision.

Khal Spencer


Paul DeDomenico

I assume the police are searching for his accomplices? Follow up reporting please New Mexican.

Barry Rabkin

So, 'restorative justice' will ensure he stays behind bars for what .... 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month? Perhaps a squad of social workers should have been in charge and tsk-asked him for his very bad behavior.

Paul DeDomenico


Khal Spencer

I suppose some judge will let him go with an ankle monitor, especially since he's only been convicted of a few felonies and gee, its not like he is a danger to the community or anything.

I think the concealed carry instructors in this town are about to get a lot of business..

Sabine Strohem

Wagers has proven he can not be safe among people. He should be locked up. Permanently.

Dan Frazier

"The incident led to his conviction on a charge of battery upon a peace officer. He was also found guilty of motor vehicle theft, receiving stolen property and possession of narcotics between 2017 and 2019." I want to know more about his court cases. How was he sentenced? Who sentenced him? Why has been allowed to continue roaming the streets until now? No wonder we can't find enough police officers. These folks are out there risking their lives to make our streets safer. And our judges are issuing light slaps on the wrist, if even that. Our judicial system is broken.

Khal Spencer

Agree, Dan. The New Mexican needs to do a followup on his earlier trials and sentences and whether he was released early, got a plea bargain, etc.

This guy is clearly a loose cannon. Given its New Mexico, its also clear that even though he apparently was a felon, someone got him a pistol. Someone else needs to go to jail as an accomplice to all these crimes.

Angel Ortiz

I'm speechless. How can an individual like this be on the streets? There are schools, parks, private homes where this animal has been lurking. SFPD does not have the ability to address someone like this. Be vigilant. Learn everything about self defense. He is not the last one to do this. There will be more. Seems like violence like this crosses all racial boundaries. Not just the Latinos.

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