Detective Keith Farkas (standing) and detective Kirk Roberts investigate the scene at 916 Axtell St., where Clovis resident Roshawn A. Pitts was shot before noon Friday. (CNJ Staff Photo: Mike Linn)
By Janet Bresenham: CNJ Staff Writer
Police believe the man suspected in Curry County’s sixth homicide of the year ran to a nearby daycare center after Friday morning’s shooting, discarded his shirt inside the building and left a gun in the center’s fenced-in back yard before fleeing.
Officials said no children were injured in the incident and none of them witnessed the shooting.
William “Cisco” Riley, 31, was arrested on an open count of murder and is being held in the Curry County Adult Detention Center. He’s accused of killing Roshawn “Sam L” Pitts, who would have turned 21 on Wednesday.
Pitts was shot in the driveway of Riley’s residence at 916-B Axtell St. shortly before noon Friday following an argument, according to witnesses and court records.
Pitts and a third friend, Simon Aultman, were in a silver Oldsmobile Alero in front of the Learn O’Rama Day Care Center at 1000 Axtell St., when Riley walked up, officials said.
Pitts and Riley began arguing, then started walking toward Riley’s apartment, according to the affidavit for arrest warrant filed by Detective Sgt. Roger Grah.
Aultman followed the pair in his car, then sat on the hood while Pitts and Riley continued arguing in Riley’s driveway, police said. When Riley went into his apartment, Pitts and Aultman got back in the car.
Witnesses told police that, “before the car could move, Mr. Riley ran from the house yelling ‘I’m going to kill you’ and began firing a handgun,” the affidavit states.
Aultman and Pitts, who was in the passenger seat, tried to get out of the car through the driver’s door when Pitts was struck by gunfire, police said.
Aultman drove Pitts to Plains Regional Medical Center, where Pitts was pronounced dead Friday morning, police said. Aultman could not be reached for comment.
Police apprehended Riley after he ran up the street, in and out of the Learn O’Rama Day Care Center, and headed north on foot.
Ann Parson, who has owned the day care center about four years, said she was out of town on Friday. But she said Riley could have come quickly in the center’s back door and out the side door without being seen.
About 28 children ages 2-10 were inside the day care but none of them saw the incident, Parson said.
Detectives found Riley’s shirt behind some furniture inside the day care building and a black Smith and Wesson revolver in the center’s fenced-in back yard.
Riley has two young daughters with Parson’s granddaughter Erica Moton. Both of their children attend Parson’s day care center, where Moton works as well.
Another of Parson’s granddaughters, Raeshaun Parson, said she was working at the day care center Friday morning and helping children get ready for lunch when she heard Pitts and Riley arguing outside.
After Pitts and Riley walked to Riley’s apartment on the next block, Raeshaun Parson said she and the others at the day care heard gunshots and brought the children into the two main classrooms, locked the doors and closed the window blinds.
Riley is being held at the Curry County Adult Detention Center in lieu of $112,000 cash-only bond, a jail spokeswoman said.
In addition to an open count of murder, Riley is charged with aggravated assault with intent to commit a violent felony; felon in possession of a firearm; tampering with evidence; shooting at a motor vehicle; and abuse of a child, related to charges that he entered the day care center, court records show.
Grah, chief investigator for the case, said the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office will determine what level of murder charge will be filed to amend the open count of murder.
Pitts’ body was sent Friday to the Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque for an autopsy.