By Rick White: CNJ managing editor
A 30-year-old Clovis man already in custody in connection with a Christmas shooting was charged Thursday with an open count of murder for the Jan. 15 slaying of 19-year-old Wilfred Salas Jr., according to the district attorney’s office.
Police say Robert Macias fired multiple shots from the front yard of a residence on Merriwether Street at Salas, hitting the victim in the head as he was driving north on the road, according to police reports. The car crashed in the parking lot at the Beaulieu Brothers Pawn Shop, the report said.
District Attorney Matt Chandler said Salas and Macias knew each other and there was a conflict between them, but declined to elaborate further on a motive. He said the killing was not random but would not comment on why Salas was driving on Merriwether Street at the time of the shooting.
Chandler said Macias’ latest arrest was based on multiple interviews by the Major Crime Unit, including Thursday afternoon.
“It wasn’t anything specific,” Chandler said of the timing of Thursday’s arrest. “It was a matter of putting pieces together and getting a judge to sign a probable cause warrant.”
He said Macias was considered a suspect from the start in the county’s fourth homicide since Dec. 10.
Police believe he acted alone, Chandler said.
“He has a violent history with multiple allegations of violent offenses,” Chandler said.
Macias, who is also awaiting trial on an August charge of aggravated battery, was taken into custody two days after the Salas shooting when his bond was revoked for frequenting a liquor establishment, Chandler said.
Chandler said witnesses placed Macias at Kelley’s Bar and Grill on Jan. 14, the night before the Salas shooting.
In the meantime, Macias was the primary suspect in the Christmas shooting of Zachariah Stephenson, 30, who was shot in the leg at his residence at 1201 Pile Street, records show.
Chandler said information developed during interviews for the Salas case assisted in charges being filed in the Christmas shooting, which was being investigated separately by Clovis police.
Stephenson gave police a description of the shooter and of the assailant’s vehicle, police records show.
Macias was in custody when he was charged with shooting Stephenson.
Chandler said there is no known connection between the two shootings.
Attorney Michael T. Garrett of Clovis, who is representing Macias on the August aggravated battery and Christmas shooting charges, said he was unaware Thursday night that Macias had been charged with murder.
Macias, who lists 1109 Concord St. as his residence on his booking sheet, is being held on a $100,000 bond in connection with the Salas case, according to the district attorney’s office.