BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Oscar Adrian Huerta Puentes, 22 and Irving Ocana Escalante, 20, both of Santa Fe, were arrested Friday by Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in connection with the shooting of a 35-year old woman as she sat in her car at about 5 p.m. May 6 outside the Pojoaque Supermarket.
Huerta Puentes is charged with attempting to commit murder, conspiracy to attempting to commit murder, shooting at or from a motor vehicle and conspiracy to shoot at or from a motor vehicle.
Ocana Escalante is charged with attempting to commit murder, conspiracy to attempting to commit murder, conspiracy to commit shooting at or from a vehicle and tampering with evidence.
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene and found the victim with two gunshot wounds. She was transported to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe for treatment.
Video surveillance showed that a man had exited a car, walked to the driver’s side of the victim’s car, discharged two rounds and fled the parking lot heading south on US 84/285.
An eyewitness reported seeing a man trying to argue with a woman in a vehicle in the parking lot, then punching the window of the woman’s car, shooting into the back window and then shooting into the front window.
While investigating the incident, SFCSO detectives identified the owners of a white Audi that was observed fleeing the scene. On May 12, detectives put out an alert for the vehicle and the following day the vehicle was covered with a white car cover and put in a garage.
On Friday, detectives made contact with Ocana Escalante who eventually agreed to be interviewed at the sheriff’s office about the shooting incident.
The statement of probable cause in the case indicates that Ocana Escalante informed detectives that he and Huerta Puentes consumed/smoked marijuana throughout the day on May 6 and that at one point, Huerta Puentes received a call from an unknown person relaying that a person or persons in a silver Toyota Corolla was harassing a girlfriend/colleague of Huerta Puentes.
Ocana Escalante told detectives the two ended up following the reported Toyota at close distance in an attempt to get the occupants to pull over and possibly fight. He said while they were travelling north on US Highway 84/285 at a high rate of speed, he lost visual of the silver Toyota and that he thought he saw the same vehicle on West Gutierrez Street and quickly closed distance and followed it into the parking lot of the supermarket.
“Once parked parallel to the silver Mazda, he stated he was under the impression that Oscar (Huerta Puentes) was going to physically dispute the occupants (possibly four). He said unbeknownst to him, Oscar retrieved a handgun and discharged two rounds into the vehicle. Irving advised when he heard a female scream, he knew the vehicle was not the same vehicle intended to dispute with,” the statement of probably cause says.
Santa Fe County Apprehension Agents proceeded to locate Huerta Puentes Meanwhile Ocana Escalante requested to use the restroom.
“While in the restroom, Irving replicated vomiting in the stall. When returned to the interview room, his cell phone rang with Oscar as the identified caller. (Ocana Escalante) appeared to be nervous and did not answer the phone as requested to do so,” the court documents state. Ocana Escalante admitted to detectives that while in the restroom he falsified vomiting and text messaged Huerta Puentes. The message was displayed and read that cops were on their way. There was indication of attempting to corroborate a story when police apprehended Huerta Puentes, the documents say.
Agents eventually made contact with Huerta Puentes and his attorney who produced a Glock 22 .40 caliber weapon believed to have been used in the shooting. Huerta Puentes and Ocana Escalante remained in custody as of Monday in the Santa Fe County Detention Center.