Police arrest teen suspected in fatal shooting

·3 min read

Jul. 8—Santa Fe police are accusing 18-year-old Efren Sifuentes-Gallegos of murder in the fatal shooting of another teen Thursday in a vehicle parked outside the Smoke City Dos smoke shop on Airport Road.

A witness said the death of 18-year-old Andres Griego-Alvarado appeared to be a tragic accident between friends.

Both were recent graduates — Sifuentes-Gallegos from Capital High School and Griego-Alvarado from Santa Fe High — Cody Dynarski, a spokesman for Santa Fe Public Schools, said Friday.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court, surveillance video showed the teens were "horse playing or joking around" with each other inside the store and continued the behavior outside before the shooting.

"As [Sifuentes-Gallegos] was sitting in the car he removed a gun from the small of his back," the complaint stated. "He put the gun barrel on [Griego-Alvarado's] chest area."

Video surveillance showed Sifuentes-Gallegos' hand move due to the recoil of the gun, according to the complaint. Both teenagers applied pressure to Griego-Alvarado's wound before driving off.

Sifuentes-Gallegos took Griego-Alvarado to an urgent care facility on Herrera Drive operated by Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, Deputy Chief Ben Valdez said in a news release.

The criminal complaint said Sifuentes-Gallegos yelled for help at the medical center, and a woman began administering CPR on Griego-Alvarado. The woman asked Sifuentes-Gallegos to "do breaths on Andres," the complaint said.

"At some point while doing CPR on Andres, Efren wrote down his phone number and told the lady helping with the CPR he was going to get Andres' parents," the complaint said.

However, Sifuentes-Gallegos told police he "panicked" and went home, according to the complaint. He was later arrested during a traffic stop.

Asked if police believe the shooting might have been accidental, Valdez said Sifuentes-Gallegos was arrested based on probable cause established by investigators, and "obviously there was a criminal act that occurred."

"If it was an accidental thing, I don't know at this point if it would have moved forward with charges," he said.

D'Angelo Gonzales, an employee of Smoke City Dos, said he was working Thursday afternoon when Griego-Alvarado and Sifuentes-Gallegos came in the store. They both had been there several times before and seemed "happy" before the incident, he added.

"They came in together, and I couldn't tell anything was wrong," Gonzales said. "These guys were just being friends. ... They walked in dancing to the music in the background."

Gonzales said the three of them had a conversation before the teens left the store.

Then the shooting occurred.

While walking toward the back of the store, Gonzales said, he noticed their car moving in reverse with the driver's-side door wide open. He didn't think much of it until he viewed the store's surveillance footage.

"They were talking, and his friend was just being stupid," Gonzales said. "It wasn't like he was trying to hurt his friend or anything. I could tell there was no intention."

Lt. David Webb said detectives had canvassed the area surrounding Smoke City Dos and obtained video evidence of the vehicle, a red Volkswagen two-door coupe, according to the complaint.

When Sifuentes-Gallegos was arrested, Webb said, the teen was cooperative with officers.

But the criminal complaint said he provided police with two different versions of the incident — one in which he said the two had driven away from the smoke shop when Griego-Alvarado was shot, and another in which he claimed Griego-Alvarado had grabbed the gun first and was shot as the two struggled for the weapon.

Along with a count of murder, Sifuentes-Gallegos was charged with one count of tampering with evidence that accuses him of hiding the gun, according to the criminal complaint. The firearm and vehicle believed to be used during the incident have both been seized.

Sifuentes-Gallegos is being held in the Santa Fe County jail.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.