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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In late June 2015, Enrique Palomino, then 14, went “mobbing” overnight with five friends in a Foothills neighborhood. The spree ended early the next morning when one of the teens, 16-year-old Jermiah King, shot and killed a 60-year-old homeowner — a popular local bartender who had tried to chase the teens away from his house.
Last month, police say, Palomino — an 18-year-old on supervised probation — and two other teens shot and seriously injured a homeless man during a robbery. A GPS monitor put him at the scene of the crime, according to court documents.
Palomino, Xavier Pino, 18, and Dominic Lopez, 17, are charged with robbery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon resulting in great bodily harm and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the April 4 shooting of 29-year-old Garfield Lopez. There is no indication that Garfield Lopez and Dominic Lopez are related.
Pino has been booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center, and Palomino is now at the juvenile detention center being held on a probation violation. An arrest warrant has been issued for Dominic Lopez.
In another twist, police say the casings found at the scene of the shooting have been traced to at least six other shootings, including a 2017 homicide and the April 8 slaying of 15-year-old Martin Maestas. A police spokesman did not provide details about any of the shootings.
Palomino was detained at the scene of Maestas’s slaying and police say his involvement is “still under investigation.”
Enrique Palomino is detained at the scene of 15-year-old Martin Maestas slaying on April 8 in northwest Albuquerque. Family members say the boys were good friends. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)
However, Palomino’s mother, Amanda, told the Journal Maestas and her son were good friends and the two were shot at randomly by two robbers.
“My son does not deserve what we’re going through,” she said. “…He has a lot of people that love him and are going to fight for him.”
Palomino has a storied history in the case files of the Albuquerque Police Department and Children’s Court.
Most notably, he was the second youngest of six teenagers charged in the 2015 death of Steven Gerecke after a night of “mobbing” — when a group of teenagers break into cars and homes.
Palomino, who said he was in the car when Gerecke was shot, pleaded guilty to larceny, conspiracy, aggravated burglary and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. He was sentenced as a juvenile and shuttled around treatment facilities, two of which he was kicked out of for fights and drug possession.
Palomino was released in November 2018 and placed on probation, but it didn’t take long for him to catch the eye of the law.
On April 2 a Facebook photo surfaced of Palomino holding a gun and beer — a violation of his probation. Then, three days after he showed up at the scene of Maestas’s homicide, officers arrested him, charging him for the probation violation.
He pleaded guilty earlier this week, and a judge sentenced him to a juvenile detention facility until he is 21 years old.
The recent charges against Palomino are the most heinous since Gerecke’s slaying.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, officers responded to a shooting around 7 p.m. in the 3400 block of Tulane NE, near Carlisle and Candelaria. They found Garfield Lopez who had been shot four times.
Neighbors told police three young men — later identified as Palomino, Pino and Dominic Lopez — sped off in a gray car after the gunfire. One man said two of the suspects pointed guns, one with a green laser on it, at him as they fled.
Benjamin Gomez told police he was walking with Garfield Lopez down the street when three men said “this is our neighborhood,” asked if they had drugs and called them a slur for homosexuals.
Police say two of the suspects drew guns and one tried to pistol whip Garfield Lopez as the other robbed Gomez of his phone and wallet. When Garfield Lopez punched one of the suspects they allegedly shot him and ran off.
A woman who lives nearby told police her son Dominic Lopez and his friends may have been involved. She told police the three “all carry guns” and were outside her home when the shooting occurred. She called her son a “wanna be” gangster who “loves” guns and “thinks it’s cool.”
Detectives spoke with Palomino after he was arrested for the probation violation and told him his ankle bracelet put him at the scene. He told them he was with Pino and Dominic Lopez but “a couple blocks away” when he heard gunshots.
Before APD officers could track down Pino, he was arrested April 21 in Moriarty by local police after he allegedly pointed a gun — with a green laser on it — at another driver during a road rage incident.
When questioned about the shooting of Garfield Lopez, Pino told police he was “chilling” in the car when Dominic Lopez and Palomino robbed the two men. Pino said Palomino shot Garfield Lopez after being punched and they jumped in his car and fled the scene.
According to the complaint, Pino said he had not seen Dominic Lopez or Palomino since, and “he has been focused on school.”
Journal staff writer Elise Kaplan contributed to this report.
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