Officers responding to a 911 call about an altercation late Sunday at an El Llano home first encountered a knife-wielding resident who threatened them and then discovered the body of a man with a head wound lying in a pool of blood, New Mexico State Police and prosecutors said Tuesday.
Police have not yet said whether they consider the fatal shooting of the Santa Fe man, 32-year-old George Albert Lewis II, a homicide case.
Jullian Medelez, 45, who had recently moved into the El Llano home but previously might have been Lewis’ roommate at a Santa Fe residence, was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and one count of resisting an officer. He is accused of threatening to shoot officers and then wrangling with them as they tried to make an arrest. He remained in custody Tuesday in the Rio Arriba County jail in Tierra Amarilla, inmate records showed.
Medelez has not been charged in Lewis’ death, and police said they are still investigating the case.
According to a criminal complaint, there were two 911 calls Sunday night from Medelez’s home on El Caballo Quino Drive in the tiny Rio Arriba County community northeast of Española. The first came shortly after 9 p.m. and the second around 11 p.m.
In the first call, a man reported to a dispatcher that “somebody wants to stab somebody,” police said in the criminal complaint. The man told the dispatcher he and another person were “stopping it,” and then he argued with the dispatcher, swore and hung up.
Officers called the number and spoke with a man who was intoxicated and cursed at them. They went to the area to try to find the caller but could not, the complaint said.
The second call was from a man named Jullian who told a dispatcher that state police officers had robbed him, the complaint said. The man refused to say anything else and hung up.
When state police officers arrived at the home, the complaint said, a man later identified as Medelez walked out on the front porch with a knife and threatened to get a gun and shoot them. Medelez then walked back into the home, counting “3, 2, 1” and yelling at the officers to leave. He appeared highly intoxicated, police said in the complaint.
Medelez repeatedly went back into the home in response to officers’ commands to walk toward them, and then he shouted at them, saying there was a dead man in the house, “lying on my floor, bleeding.”
Medelez continued to ignore officers’ commands to walk toward them, the complaint said, and he suffered minor injuries in a scuffle with officers, but they were finally able to take him into custody.
They found a knife in a pocket of Medelez’s shorts, police said, and they noted the knife did not appear to have any blood on it.
Officers entered the home and found Lewis’ body on the living room floor, with his head in a pool of blood, according to the complaint. They also found blood on the backrest of a sofa and in a bathroom.
A .22-caliber black handgun was on a recliner, and a knife in a holster was lying about 2 feet from Lewis’ body. Police also found a magazine with .45-caliber ammunition. A vehicle registered to Medelez parked under a carport next to the front door had blood on the roof, near the driver’s side door and on the hood.
Blood spatter also was found on Medelez’s shirt, shorts and fingernails, police said.
Emergency medical personnel who arrived at the scene told police Lewis likely had been dead for 1½ to 2 hours. He had a suspected gunshot wound to the left cheek, consistent with a .22-caliber round.
A spent .22-caliber bullet casing was found in a box outside the home’s front door, police said. Checking the .22-caliber handgun, crime scene agents found one round in the chamber and one round in the magazine.
In an interview at a state police office in Española, Medelez asked to speak with an attorney and said he did not know the deceased man.
Identification found in Lewis’ pocket listed a Santa Fe address that investigators found matched an address on Medelez’s driver’s license, according to the complaint.
A neighbor told police Medelez had moved into the El Llano home a week earlier.
A state police spokesman said he did not have additional information about the case Tuesday.
Late Tuesday, state prosecutors filed a motion asking state District Judge Jason Lidyard to hold Medelez in custody pending trial, saying he poses a danger to the community. A hearing on the motion is scheduled Friday.
Medelez’s unwillingness to allow officers into his home while there was a dead man inside did “imply he was the one responsible,” Assistant District Attorney Ihsan Ahmed wrote in the motion, “but he is not presently charged with an offense relating to that. The investigation on that matter is ongoing.”