Cruces police arrest 3rd burglary suspect

Las Cruces Police Department

The third suspect in Tuesday morning’s botched burglary was arrested and detectives say they have learned the true identity of the man who was shot in the chest by the homeowner.

Ernest William Lucero, 24, was seen in a vehicle that was stopped on north Main Street late Tuesday afternoon. Lucero allegedly was identified as the suspect who ran from police who were investigating Tuesday morning’s burglary attempt and shooting on Debra Street.

Tuesday evening, Las Cruces Police learned that the suspect shot in the upper chest by the armed homeowner had provided a false name to law enforcement officers and hospital staff. It turns out that Juan Carlos Lopez, 21, is the name of the suspect who allegedly was involved in the burglary and suffered a gunshot wound when the homeowner opened fire on the intruders. Lopez told police and medical staff that his name was Adan Quintero.

Friends drove Lopez to Mountain View Regional Medical Center. He was then flown to University Medical Center of El Paso though his injuries were not life-threatening.

Shortly before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, Las Cruces Police were called to the 1800 block of Debra Street after neighbors heard gunfire. Arriving officers found shell casings and blood evidence but no victims.

A short while later police were notified that Mountain View Regional Medical Center were treating two gunshot victims who arrived separately. One of the gunshot victims was Lopez and the other patient was the 30-year-old victim of the burglary attempt who accidentally shot himself while chasing off the suspects. The injuries to the 30-year-old victim were not life-threatening.

Detectives say Lopez and two other suspects broke into the residence on Debra Street and were confronted by the homeowner, who was armed with a semi-automatic handgun. The homeowner fired at least one round at the suspects while they were inside the residence and then several more rounds as they attempted to flee.

The investigation also revealed that the suspects had a .25 caliber handgun during the burglary attempt, though it does not appear they fired any shots. Police recovered that handgun in the Nissan Xterra the suspects were driving.

Lopez, Lucero and Omar E. Gonzalez, 20, are charged with one count each of aggravated burglary, aggravated assault and conspiracy.

No charges have been filed against the homeowner. Las Cruces Police detectives are continuing their investigation and additional charges are possible.




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