Police arrest Santa Fe teen suspected in shootings

Hunter Woods

After more than a week of searching for a Santa Fe teen suspected of shooting his mother’s boyfriend, police on Tuesday arrested 16-year-old Hunter Woods in the Zafarano Drive retail corridor.

Police have accused Woods, a student at Santa Fe High School, of shooting the 39-year-old man with a shotgun during an argument in the early morning of April 29 in his mother’s home at the Avaria of Santa Fe Apartments on Lorca Drive.

The wounded man, who suffered a gunshot to the abdomen, was hospitalized in critical condition. Police did not respond to questions Tuesday about whether his condition has improved.

Woods fled the shooting in his mother’s car, police said.

But they believe he didn’t go far.

While he was at large last week, Woods was suspected in two more shootings in Santa Fe. No one was reported injured in either of those incidents, though one vehicle was damaged with bullets. Police did not say Tuesday whether they planned to pursue charges against Woods in connection with those incidents.

In statements Tuesday, a Santa Fe Police Department spokesman said officers found Woods near businesses in the Zafarano Drive/Cerrillos Road area and arrested him. A man found with Woods, 19-year-old Jesus Ronquilla, also was arrested.

Woods was booked into the Santa Fe County juvenile detention center Tuesday on suspicion of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, police said. Ronquilla was booked into the county jail on an outstanding warrant accusing him of transferring or receiving stolen property.

“This is still a developing investigation,” police spokesman Greg Gurulé said in the statement, “and more information will be released as it becomes available.”

Deputy Chief Ben Valdez last week said Woods’ mother had told investigators she was in contact with her son and had been asking him to turn himself in, but he was resisting because he was scared.

According to a search warrant affidavit, the mother called 911 on April 29 to report that her boyfriend had tried to attack her with a bat and that her son had intervened, first firing a warning shot and then shooting the man. Police officers found the man bleeding from the abdomen in the doorway of the apartment.

On Friday, police declared Woods a suspect in evening shootings on May 1 on the south side of the city, first in the 3500 block of Charley Bentley Drive and then near Las Acequias Park on Calle Atajo.

In the first shooting, the owner of a red Pontiac told police that a “known male” had shot up his vehicle. A police report from a 2018 shooting at the Avaria of Santa Fe Apartments indicated Woods and another teen who owned a red Pontiac and lived on Charley Bentley Drive had an ongoing dispute.

In the second shooting Wednesday, a woman reported a group of teen boys or men had been arguing near Las Acequias Park when one of them fired a handgun.

Witnesses in both shootings described a vehicle similar to the one Woods took from his mother, and one witness gave a description of one of the vehicle’s two occupants that fit Woods, police said.

On Saturday, Santa Fe Crime Stoppers announced it was offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to Woods’ arrest. It was unclear if a tipster seeking the reward helped police find the teen Tuesday.