An 11-year-old boy in New Mexico was killed in a case of mistaken identity, police say.
Authorities shed new light Thursday on the death of 11-year-old Froylan Villegas, who was shot and killed after an Albuquerque Isotopes game on Sept. 6. Authorities previously published that Villegas was riding in a truck that someone “fired several shots” at after a sporting event. Villegas’ cousin Tatiana was also seriously injured in the tragedy, reports KOB.
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Harold Medina, Chief of the Albuquerque Police Department, Villegas shares a photo on X, officially known as Twitter, and announced, “With the help of the public, investigators have determined that this was a case of mistaken identity.” During a press conference that same day, Medina revealed that Jose Romero and Nathan Garley had been arrested in connection with the case.
“The individuals who were arrested were involved in an altercation with others at Isotopes Stadium,” he said.
Jose Romero, 22, and Nathen Garley, 23, were held overnight at the Metro Detention Center in connection with the killing of 11-year-old Froylan Villegas.
Albuquerque Police Department/ Facebook
“We believe that these cowards confused the two vehicles and shot at the wrong vehicle, taking the life of the young man,” he added.
According to Medina, Garley was already in custody when he was arrested in connection with the Villegas case. New Mexico State Police Chief W. Troy Weisler explained that during a Sept. 13 traffic stop in which Garley was returning to Arizona, authorities found “approximately 100,000 fentanyl pills” in his vehicle.
“He would very likely have killed someone else if he had been allowed to,” he added. NBC News reports that at the time of his arrest, Romero was already wanted for “failing to appear in court in connection with alleged drug dealing.”
The incident prompted New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to sign the executive order on September 7 declaring gun violence a public health emergency. On September 8, it was followed by the declaration by announcing that it “issued a 30-day ban on the open and concealed carry of weapons in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.”
The Public Health Order was updated on September 15. In a press release, Grishan announced that she will “remove the previous firearms provision and replace it with a provision that temporarily suspends the carrying of firearms in parks and playgrounds in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.”
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On Friday afternoon, Medina announced X that a third suspect connected to the case was arrested. While the identity of the third suspect has not been released, Medina urged people to call 505-242-COPS or Crime Stoppers at 505-843-STOP with any additional details they may know about the case.
“Let’s make sure they stay in jail and answer for this tragedy,” he added. PEOPLE has reached out to APD for comment.
Tatjana’s mother, Beverly Villegas, created a GoFundMe campaign for her daughter, who she explained in the campaign description will “undergo extensive therapy” as a result of the incident.
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“We as her family are asking on her behalf for any help you can spare to cover all living expenses incurred while she recovers,” the campaign description added. “We will also use the funds raised for our family while we are out of work to help Tatiana with her recovery and the grief of our beloved Froylan.” As of this writing, the campaign has collected 415 donations and exceeded its goal of $30,000.