A Ribera teen is in jail as state police investigate the shooting death of a 17-year-old at a New Year’s Eve party.

New Mexico State Police say 18-year-old Joaquin Sanchez shot and killed Joshua Vigil of Ribera following an altercation at a party at Sanchez’s home.

Around 10:20 p.m. Friday, officers in the Las Vegas, N.M., area responded to a call about a shooting victim on El Gasnate in Ribera, a community of about 500 people about 25 miles to the southwest, according to a state police news release Sunday morning.

Sanchez was taken into custody without incident and was booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center, the news release states. He is being charged with second-degree murder and negligent use of a deadly weapon. According to the San Miguel County Detention Center, he was booked into the jail Saturday.

A message posted by the West Las Vegas Public Schools football team’s Twitter account Saturday night referenced a “horrible tragedy.” A search of West Las Vegas High School football records and reports lists people named Joaquin Sanchez and Josh Vigil as football players for the school.

Reached by phone Sunday, district athletic coach Adrian Gonzales said he did not want to comment because “it’s a hard situation and out of respect for everybody involved.”

District Superintendent Christopher Gutierrez declined to discuss the shooting when reached Saturday, adding, “This is something that the parents need to deal with.”

According to the district’s website, students are slated to return from winter break for classes Wednesday. West Las Vegas High School said on its Facebook page that counselors were available starting Sunday morning for students and employees who need support.

In recent years, a number of Northern New Mexico teens have been arrested for gun crimes, on charges ranging from shooting at a vehicle to first-degree murder. Late in December, 19-year-old Flavio Gonzales Jr. was arrested for allegedly firing 10 rounds at a man who confronted him in a Senda del Valle parking lot.

In July, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office arrested three teenage boys in connection with the death of 19-year-old Isaiah Herrera, a recent Pojoaque Valley High School graduate whose body was found Feb. 4 along a roadway in Nambé, near where he lived.

And in March, 14-year-old Enrique Duran-Garcia was charged with the murder of Guadalupe Gutierrez, 59, and his son Kevin Anthony Gutierrez, 32, at their home in Villanueva.

In July 2020, 17-year-old Ivan Perez was fatally shot at an apartment complex on the south side of Santa Fe. Another teen, Mario Guizar-Anchondo, was charged in the homicide. Just a day after prosecutors dropped charges against Guizar-Anchondo, a key witness in that shooting was arrested for alleged involvement in a drive-by shooting.

Estevan Montoya, now 18, was accused of fatally shooting Santa Fe High School basketball star Fedonta “JB” White at an August 2020 party. Montoya’s trial is scheduled for May.

Teen gun violence isn’t limited to New Mexico. According to statistics from the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks shootings from more than 7,500 law enforcement, government, media and commercial agencies, the United States experienced 1,375 gun violence deaths among those 17 years old and younger in 2020. As of October 2021, gun violence already had killed nearly 1,180 people 17 and under.

That archive is expected to release full statistics for 2021 in January.

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

(5) comments

Khal Spencer

Seems these teens are picking handguns off of trees. Or I suppose, Mom and Dad's sock drawer or stuff pilfered during burglaries.

I'm hoping for a well-written safe gun storage law that (almost) everyone can get behind. I volunteered to review and comment on it as a gun owner and as a scientist who reads the literature on gun violence issues. So far, have not heard back from anyone.

Angel Ortiz

" As a gun owner and scientist " ? Great start Khal. Now try working with the youth on the south side or perhaps those in the North Valley in ALB. Gun safe storage is a small part of the problem. Drugs, social issues, economics....the list is endless. Perhaps a ride along with APD would assist???

Stefanie Beninato

A non-ending loop of tragedy for all involved. You would have thought with the killing of "JB" White that teenagers might think twice about bringing weapons to parties.

Khal Spencer

"...think twice about bringing weapons to parties"

Seriously? Do you even assume they think once? There is a reason no one under 19 is supposed to have a handgun in New Mexico, except under strictly limited conditions. Perhaps it should be 21.


Miranda Viscoli

Sadly in New Mexico we rang in the New Year with one teenager shooting and killing another teenager. Let's hope for a better year in 2022.

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