CHIMAYO, N.M. (KRQE) - A caller reporting shots fired has stirred up some interdepartmental drama between the Rio Arriba County Sheriff's Office and New Mexico State Police.
The conflict came out of a 911 call made at around 2:40 Sunday morning that came into a consolidated Rio Arriba County dispatch center and was referred to State Police.
A little more than five hours later, Rio Arriba County got another call from a different neighbor nearby who found a body in front of a home in Chimayo off of County Road 91.
The sheriff's office says Juanito Martinez, 24, was shot once in the upper torso and killed.
No suspects have been arrested yet, but officials say investigators have some very strong leads in the case.
A Rio Arriba County Sheriff's Office spokesperson told KRQE News 13 Sunday that NMSP had not responded to the first call of shots fired.
However, listening to a recording of that call, that same caller is heard directing officers to County Road 94 not County Road 91 where the shooting occurred.
NMSP records show an officer was dispatched to the area near County Road 94 and did not find any evidence of shots fired after about an hour.
State Police Chief Robert Shilling says, with 20-20 hindsight, his officer could have contacted the 911 caller.
However he says any implication that his department did not respond is unfounded.
"I have men and women up there who have dedicated their whole lives to that valley and happily do so and there's a blood sweat and tears from state police in the Rio Arriba County area and they're proud of that fact and they answer their calls for service and they provide the citizens with the best service possible," Chief Shilling said.
Currently, NMSP and Rio Arriba County have different dispatch centers, something Rio Arriba Sheriff Tommy Rodella says is a major problem highlighted by this case.
State Police Chief Shilling says consolidation is something the department is looking into but cautioned that combining the two is more complicated than it might appear because of the number of counties their dispatch center handles.
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