In the frantic moments after gunfire rained onto an outdoor house party on Hopewell Street on Saturday night, Rodrigo Enriquez Garay fell to the ground, bleeding from the back. One of the first people to tend to him was his twin brother Pedro, who helped lift him into the bed of a pickup, and with others drove him to a hospital.
Rodrigo Garay, 19, died moments after arriving at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center early Sunday morning, police said.
Beverly Melendez, the woman accused in the fatal shooting, was arraigned via video from the Santa Fe County jail Tuesday on a charge of second-degree murder. She did not enter a plea.
Melendez said little but spoke clearly before Magistrate Judge David Segura. Sitting beside an attorney, she answered “yes” to questions from the judge about whether she understood her rights, the charge against her and the potential penalty — 15 years in prison. She also provided her current mailing address.
A District Court hearing on the prosecution motion for pretrial detention has not yet been scheduled.
In a Tuesday motion filed by prosecutors arguing for Melendez to remain in custody pending trial, Deputy District Attorney Kent Wahlquist said Enriquez Garay’s brother told police a woman who lived behind the home had been outside yelling about something. The brother — who is named in the motion as Pedro Garay — said there had been problems in the past with the woman.
Pedro Garay said he then heard three or four gunshots and saw his brother fall to the ground. Initially, Pedro Garay told police, he “thought his brother was just playing” until he saw blood coming from his nose, Wahlquist wrote in the motion. Pedro Garay then took off his brother’s shirt and saw a gunshot wound in his upper back near one of his shoulder blades.
Rodrigo Enriquez Garay, a 2018 graduate of Capital High School, lived in Santa Fe, though not at the home where the party took place, according to police reports.
Police said Melendez, 64, lived in the back bedroom of a home in the 1800 block of Quapaw Street, across a small arroyo and just north of the party location on the 1800 block of Hopewell Street. The shooting occurred before midnight Saturday, and police took Melendez into custody at about 1:30 a.m. after SWAT and crisis negotiation teams surrounded the home.
Melendez told a detective in interviews after being taken into custody that she had several altercations with her neighbors, saying they hosted loud house parties and ran a generator throughout the night, which she said prevented her from sleeping, according to a criminal complaint.
Melendez told the detective she became angry Saturday night, walked into her backyard with her rifle and looked over her back wall using a small step ladder. Then, she “flipped out” and went back to her bedroom, the detective said.
Melendez repeatedly told the detective that she did not remember firing her rifle, and when informed that someone had been shot and killed, she began to cry, saying “I’m so sorry,” and “It shouldn’t have happened.”
The detective also wrote in the complaint that on the night of the shooting, 911 dispatchers had received a call from someone identifying herself as “Beverly,” talking about a potential “human sacrifice” occurring in the area of the shooting.
The police reports also make mention of a phone call to 911 Saturday night in which the caller stated someone was “performing a ritual circle.” Police were dispatched to the Hopewell Street home at 11:50 p.m. on a welfare check. The reports say dispatchers tracked the caller’s phone number to a location near Melendez’s Quapaw Street home.
After being detained, Melendez was described in the police reports as being “very irate and agitated.”
In addition to a spent .22-caliber bullet casing police found near the back wall of Melendez’s home, Santa Fe police told The New Mexican on Tuesday that a .22-caliber rifle had been recovered from Melendez’s bedroom closet.
Police also said that they had no record of Melendez ever calling police regarding noise complaints or disorderly conduct at the Hopewell Street residence prior to Saturday’s incident.