Docs: Teen arrested in connection with house party shooting in Las Cruces

Docs: Teen arrested in connection with house party shooting in Las Cruces

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A 19-year-old Las Cruces man has been arrested and charged in the death of another teen who was shot in the head during a house party back in December in Las Cruces, according to court documents obtained by KTSM.

Angel Ray Hurtado, 19, was arrested on a warrant on Monday, Feb. 5 after an investigation by the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office.

Hurtado is being charged with involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence, according to court documents.

Court documents show that Hurtado and his sister both told contradictory stories to the investigating deputies and that Hurtado’s answers to a “voice stress analysis” showed levels of deceit.

According to court documents, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of a shooting early Saturday morning, Dec. 9, 2023 along the 4700 block of High Hopes Road.

According to court documents, a party was held at the house while the parents of the teens who lived there were out of town.

When deputies arrived at about 3 a.m., they found 18-year-old Jose Cortes lying on his back in the living room with a gunshot wound.

A friend of the victim told deputies that he met another teenaged male at the party who was identified only as “AJ.” The witness told deputies that “AJ” had a gun and was pointing it at the ceiling as he showed it off.

The witness said he went into the kitchen to get another drink when he heard a loud “pop” and when he turned around, he saw his friend on the floor, according to court documents.

A teen who lived at the house told deputies that he went outside to “sober up” when he heard a loud “bang.”

The party host told deputies that he saw a male leave the home, saying “I didn’t mean to do it” and “I’m sorry.”

The host also said he saw that same teen put something into his pocket but didn’t see what it was, according to court documents.

Another witness told deputies that she was in a bedroom in the house when she heard someone say, “Put the gun down. No, put the gun down” before she heard a single gunshot.

The suspect Hurtado told deputies the following day that he went to the party with his sister and met another teen and then began to talk about music.

Hurtado told deputies that the other teen brandished a handgun from his waistband and he started to show him and other people the gun. Hurtado then said that the other teen let him see the gun and he held it for a few seconds before handing it back. Then the other teen “accidentally shot himself in the head,” Hurtado told deputies according to court documents.

The suspect’s sister told deputies a completely different story, according to court documents.

The sister said the victim had a brown pocket knife and brandished it and threatened to “cut” her brother’s throat, according to court documents.

The sister said after the knife incident, someone took out a gun to show it off. The victim then took the gun, pointed it toward his head point-blank and fired the gun, the sister said.

The sister of the suspect also said that the victim, identified as Cortes, was very drunk and she didn’t know why he shot himself because cause he didn’t seem depressed.

Deputies said they used a photo lineup to identify the person known as “AJ” as Hurtado.

They also did a voice stress analysis exam on Hurtado, according to court documents.

The suspect was asked if he heard the victim shoot the gun and if he was the one who shot the victim. Hurtado said he heard the shot but didn’t shoot him.

Deputies said that his answers showed “high levels of stress” in his answers.

When deputies confronted Hurtado about the results of the voice analysis, the suspect said he didn’t know why the results were showing deceitful results, according to court documents.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KTSM 9 News.