By Mike Linn
Police are searching for suspects involved in a Sunday night shooting that injured two men, one critically, in what police and witnesses say was provoked by arguments at a horse race earlier that day a few miles east of Portales.
Ernesto Sanchez, 39, received bullet wounds in the abdomen and upper thigh and was flown to a Lubbock hospital Sunday evening in critical condition; Doroteo Sanchez, a member of Ernesto’s family, received a minor bullet wound in the thigh and has been treated and released from Roosevelt General Hospital, said Capt. Lonnie Berry of the Portales Police Department.
Both men were shot at the Valle del Solle apartments near Lindsey Grade School about 9 p.m.
As of Monday evening, Ernesto Sanchez was in intensive care at a Lubbock hospital after one bullet shattered a leg bone and punctured a main vein, according to Katie Rodriguez, the apartment manager.
“He lost a lot of blood and doctors are trying to decide whether he will lose his leg because of the damage,” Rodriguez said.
Witnesses confirmed the identity of the shooters, and Berry said his office is in the process of gathering evidence for arrest warrants.
One of the witnesses at the scene, Anna Sanchez, Doroteo Sanchez’s wife, said a family feud at the apartments climaxed when two members of another family pulled guns and opened fire, sending people running in every direction.
On Monday afternoon, a .22-caliber shell casing rested just two yards from where witnesses said Ernesto fell from gunshot wounds.
“He said to his mother, ‘beloved mother I’m going to die,’” Rodriguez said.
Witnesses said Ernesto Sanchez’s wife fainted after her husband fell to the ground.
Police said the families began arguing intensely Sunday afternoon at a horse race off of New Mexico State Road 88, where witnesses said a family member of the suspected shooters pulled a gun.
Later that night a fight broke out between the families near Valle del Solle apartment No. 13, where police responded to the scene, Berry said.
Not long thereafter the suspects and their family returned, all wearing gloves and toting guns, witnesses said.
Anna Sanchez said the incident involved personal overtones.
She said Doroteo and herself were married two weeks ago, something that angered an old boyfriend close to suspected shooters.
Clovis police received a notice at 9:32 p.m. Sunday that a maroon Chevy Suburban or Ford Expedition with a male driver was being sought in connection with the crime.
Anna Sanchez said the suspects were driving a maroon Ford Expedition but that they were later driving a green truck and by now “are probably long gone to Mexico.”