Suspects arrested in triple stabbing

A Clovis teen is dead, two other men are recovering and police arrested two suspects within hours after a party in Clovis erupted into a violent showdown early Saturday at a house near 14th and Reid streets.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

The home at 14th and Reid where three men were stabbed Saturday when an early morning party erupted in gunfire. A 17-year-old died of stab wounds and two men ages 20 and 23, where hospitalized for non-life threatening stab wounds, according to police.

Clovis police said all three victims were taken by private car to Plains Regional Medical Center where Devin Saiz of Clovis died after being stabbed about 12:19 a.m. Jose Lopez, 23, and Havier Bara, 20, both of Clovis, were also treated for stab wounds police said were not life threatening.

About 16 hours later, police said a special unit of investigators arrested Ricardo Sena, 27, of Clovis, and a 17-year-old female not identified because she is a juvenile.

Sena is charged with an open count of murder and the unidentified girl is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

The special team— the 9th Judicial District Major Crimes Unit — is a combined force of investigators from Clovis police, the Curry County Sheriff and District Attorney Matt Chandler's office.

Neighbors described the scene at 14th and Reid late Friday and early Saturday as a loud and large gathering, which they said wasn't unusual at the home. Dana Lasenberry said he heard shouting shortly after midnight, then a series of gunshots before police were called to the scene.

"There was a lot of arguing, then gunshots that sounded like fireworks going off," Lasenberry said, noting police marked at least six places where spent bullet casings were found in the front yard. After the gunfire, Lasenberry said, "Someone started screaming."

Lasenberry and other neighbors said the house has been the site of frequent parties since new tenants moved in about six months ago. Another neighbor said it wasn't unusual to see three or four people sitting on the front porch drinking alcohol and listening to music in the evenings.

Lasenberry said a loud truck had made several passes in front of the house on Reid Street shortly before the violence erupted. He said he heard someone shout "something like, you better get that dude" at least once as the pickup truck passed in the street.

Police returned to the home shortly after noon Saturday to collect more evidence inside. Outside, a swath of yellow police evidence scene tape marked a blood-stained patch the size of a basketball on a sidewalk in the front yard.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

Blood splatter is marked by police evidence scene tape on a sidewalk outside the home at 14th and Reid where a 17-year-old was stabbed and later died. Two other men suffered non-life threatening stab wounds, according to police.

Neighbors gathered outside their homes to ask if it was true someone had died.

A neighbor who asked not to be identified said he had worked until midnight and had just arrived home, settling in to relax and watch television when he heard the gunshots. He estimated there were at least eight cars parked outside the home when he arrived at his house. He said he couldn't estimate the number of people at the party, which police described in a press release as "a large disturbance/public affray."

Lasenberry said it sounded like a free for all "and I just stayed in the house."

The stabbing is the first homicide in Clovis this year.

The last homicide was an Aug. 17 stabbing that killed Kevin Reardon, 35, of Valencia, Calif., who stopped in Clovis with Chip Fox, 35, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., a traveling companion now awaiting trial on murder charges.

Investigators are still awaiting the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator to rule on the Jan. 7 death of 61-year-old Joe Garcia of Clovis, who died days after he was beaten and robbed while walking near his apartment. Garcia's family believes he died from injuries suffered in the beating.

Chandler said the state medical investigator is expected to rule on the cause of death later this week.

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