Sharna Johnson, Freedom New Mexico
Five Clovis males have been arrested in connection with the most recent in a string of home invasions spanning the last two weeks.
Police said they believe there are more suspects at large who were involved in the recent home invasions and advised residents to remain vigilant and cautious as the investigation continues.
Police Capt. Patrick Whitney said the five charged are all active gang members.
“It’s still under investigation. Not only the involvement these in custody may have had … But we believe there are other affiliated (West Side Locos) gang members that were involved,” Whitney said.
Police released the names Wednesday of two adults and three juveniles charged in Tuesday’s home invasion on Sheldon Street.
The five are accused of breaking into a home at 1700 Sheldon on Tuesday morning, battering the male occupant and shooting at him as he escaped the scene.
The victim, Justin Lawson, 28, sustained head injuries from being struck with a gun. He was treated at Plains Regional Medical Center and released.
Whitney said police are investigating the group’s possible involvement in two other Clovis home invasions and law enforcement agencies in Curry County, Portales and Muleshoe are conducting investigations to determine if the five were involved in incidents in their jurisdiction.
Whitney said information gained from interviews with the suspects have tied them to other incidents and additional charges are possible, pending the completion of those investigations.
Through interviews with the defendants, Jeremy Enriquez, 19, was identified as the individual who threatened Lawson at gunpoint, struggled with him and shot at him, Whitney said.
Enriquez also threatened his girlfriend and her children at gunpoint and threatening one of her children with a knife, police said.
Enriquez’ girlfriend led police to her Wallace Street home Tuesday morning where the group was found.
In subsequent interviews, Whitney said the woman told police Enriquez held her 2-year-old child with a knife to the child’s stomach while threatening her against talking to police.
Police found a nick on the child’s stomach as she described, Whitney said.
Fernando Romero, 22, was charged for calling Enriquez’ girlfriend a snitch and suggesting the group should kill her, Whitney said. Police do not believe Fernando Romero was involved in Tuesday’s burglary but are investigating his possible role in other incidents, he said.
Police Capt. Patrick Whitney said the following individuals were charged in connection with Tuesday’s home invasion:
• Raynaldo “Jeremy” Enriquez, 19 — Aggravated burglary, two counts of aggravated battery, four counts of child abuse, four counts of false imprisonment, possession of stolen property, two counts of aggravated assault, kidnapping, tampering with evidence, three counts of contributing to delinquency of a minor, intimidation of a state’s witness and conspiracy to commit a felony.
Jail officials said Enriquez is being held on $215,340 bond.
• Fernando Romero, 22 —Intimidation of a state’s witness. Romero’s bond is $5,000, jail officials said.
• Alex Romero, 16 — Aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit a felony.
• Mark Aaragon, 15 — Aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit a felony.
• Oscar Hernandez, 16 — Aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit a felony and concealing identity
Alex Romero, Aragon and Hernandez were taken to the Juvenile Detention Center, Whitney said.
Around 2 a.m. Tuesday police responded to a shots fired call in the area near 1700 Sheldon Street.
Officers found 28-year-old Justin Lawson walking along the street bleeding from a head wound.
Lawson told officers he was house-sitting for a friend and woke when several masked males crashed through the door.
One of them had a gun and ordered him to the ground while the others tried to wrap him in a sheet.
Lawson said he fought for the gun and the struggle moved to the front yard where he was able to pull away.
As he ran from the scene, he said he heard three to four shots fired in his direction.
Lawson suffered head wounds from being struck by a gun.
• • •
As officers interviewed Lawson, sheriff’s deputies patrolling the area came across a 29-year-old female walking near 16th Street.
She was intoxicated and in an agitated state. As officers talked with her she wasn’t making sense and when they asked her if she had seen the suspects, she pointed them away from the area, saying she saw them leave.
Officers felt she was trying to misdirect them and asked her where she lived.
The woman led them to her home at 1607 Wallace and gave them permission to enter.
The home is located north and along the same alley as the home where the burglary occurred.
• • •
Inside a bedroom, officers found five male subjects laying on the floor and bed pretending to be asleep.
The suspects were detained for questioning.
Later interviews with the suspects revealed information linking them to other home invasions.
• • •
One of the juveniles displayed symptoms of internal injuries police believe he received from a crash when the suspects engaged a Curry County Sheriff’s Deputy in a high speed chase on air base highway (N.M. 467) Sunday night in a vehicle stolen from a Portales residence.
Officers also found “high-dollar” male clothing covered in fresh cow manure in the trunk of Jeremy Enriquez’ car, evidence indicating the suspects fled the crash and hid at a nearby dairy while law enforcement searched for them in neighboring fields.
In the home, officers located a revolver similar to the one described by Lawson and found jewelry and checkbooks belonging to a home invasion victim in Portales.
— Based on an interview with Clovis police Capt. Patrick Whitney