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Police: Boy killed after baseball game was case of mistaken identity

Jose Romero, 22, and Nathen Garley, 21, are both reportedly charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the death of 11-year-old Froylan Villegas.
Police: Boy killed after baseball game was case of mistaken identity
Posted at 1:08 PM, Sep 22, 2023

Two people have been arrested in connection to the Sept. 6 shooting death of an 11-year-old boy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Jose Romero, 22, and Nathen Garley, 21, are both charged with conspiracy to commit murder, according to the Albuquerque Journal. 

Froylan Villegas was killed and his cousin was left paralyzed after police said the suspects fired at the truck they were in after leaving a Minor League Baseball game. 

Police said the suspects shot at the truck, mistakenly believing it was a group they had got into a confrontation with at the game. 

“It is our belief that these cowards mixed up the two vehicles and shot into the wrong vehicle, taking the life of a young man,” Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said. 

SEE MORE: White House to announce first-ever office of gun violence prevention

Garley was arrested during a traffic stop on Sept. 13. At the time, investigators didn't know about his alleged connection to the shooting, but he was taken into custody after officers reportedly found about 100,000 fentanyl tablets in the vehicle.

Romero was arrested at a convenience store in Albuquerque on Thursday. Medina said he was carrying a firearm at the time of the arrest, but it's unclear whether it was used in the shooting that killed Froylan. 

New Mexico State Police Chief Troy Weisler noted the significance of getting Romero and Garley off the streets. 

"The entire situation and the ongoing disregard for the safety of other individuals is disgusting," he said. "It makes me sick to my stomach.”

Froylan's death was a catalyst for New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to declare a public health emergency due to gun violence. She faced political and legal pushback when she broadly suspended the right to carry firearms in Albuquerque. She has since narrowed the order, banning open or concealed carry in public parks or playgrounds. 

SEE MORE: Judge halts order blocking public gun carry in New Mexico

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