Update: State Police Make Arrests in Chamita Homicide

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Written by Officer Ray Wilson 04/07/2021


One dead and three injured after a shooting in Rio Arriba County

Chamita, NM – On March 11, 2021, at approximately 12:10 a.m., the New Mexico State Police Uniform Bureau in Espanola was dispatched to County Road 56 in Chamita, New Mexico, in reference to a shot’s fired call.

When officers arrived on County Road 56, they observed three victims with gunshot wounds, and a tan Chevrolet Tahoe parked approximately forty yards from County Road 56 House 89.

During the investigation, officers learned that the occupants in the Tahoe were traveling on County Road 56 when the driver of the Tahoe pulled into the property of County Road 56 House 89 in Chamita.

Two of the victims went into the residence to purchase methamphetamine from the homeowner, identified as Andrew Valdez, 50. While in the residence the two victims got into an altercation with Valdez who assaulted them with a knife.

The victims left the residence and got back into the Tahoe to leave the property. At this point Mario Valdez, 31, who also lives on the property and is Andrew’s son, began shooting at the Tahoe with a rifle striking four of the occupants in the Tahoe. The Tahoe drove through a fence coming to rest on an adjoining property.

There were six victims in the Tahoe during the shooting. Three of the victims, a female and two males were transported to area hospitals for treatment of their injuries. Two other male victims were uninjured, and the sixth male victim, identified as Fernando Martinez, 35, of Espanola was located deceased in the third-row seats of the Tahoe.

As officers attempted to make contact with the occupants of County Road 56 House 89 they barricaded themselves inside a garage at the residence. Officers set up a perimeter and requested the assistance of the New Mexico State Police Crisis Negotiations and Tactical Team.

State Police negotiators and Tactical Team were able to get the five occupants to exit the residence and surrender peacefully. At this point, agents learned that immediately after the shooting Andrew and Mario Valdez had fled the scene in vehicles.

On April 5, 2021, State Police agents located and arrested Andrew and Mario Valdez. The two were booked into the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center and charged with the following:

Andrew Valdez was charged with two counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

Mario Valdez was charged with an open count of Murder in the First Degree, Shooting at a Motor Vehicle Resulting in Bodily Harm (3 counts), Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon (3 counts), Tampering with Evidence, Possession of Firearm by a Felon, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (2 counts), and Shooting at a Motor Vehicle with no Injury (2 counts).

This investigation is active and is being led by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau. The names, injuries, and current medical conditions of any victims or witnesses involved who were not charged with a crime will not be released by New Mexico State Police.