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State police say dispatcher erred in handling of first 911 call

December 23, 2018 GMT

A telephone call about the first of two related shootings on N.M. 68 on Oct. 4 near Ohkay Hotel Casino was mishandled by a New Mexico State police dispatcher, a state police spokesman said.

In that first shooting, 22-year-old Mark Hice of Española allegedly fired from a Dodge Charger at what he believed to be a menacing Cadillac Escalade.

Hice and two friends, in the second shooting several hours later, are accused of killing 18-year-old Cameron Martinez of Alcalde and wounding three others in a case of mistaken identity.

An Alcalde woman who was traveling on N.M. 68 called 911 to report the first shooting. State police spokesman Ray Wilson said the dispatcher who received the call should have assigned an officer to the case.

The dispatcher, Wilson said in an email, did “not follow proper procedure in the fact that they only aired the incident as a BOLO,” or be on the lookout.

After calling 911 the first time, the woman said, she and her husband looked for the Dodge Charger and spotted it heading toward Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. She called dispatch again to suggest where police officers might catch the car.

The dispatcher advised state police officers in the Española area to look for the Dodge Charger, which turned off N.M. 68 onto a county road toward the pueblo, Wilson said.

Two state police officers searched the area for the Dodge Charger, Wilson said, but they never saw the car and didn’t have many details to run with.

“The caller did not give a license plate number or any other details of the vehicle,” Wilson said in an interview.

The woman who called to report the shooting wasn’t interviewed by state police until two days later.

“I was really upset thinking about, had they taken care of the call when I called … this probably never would have happened,” the woman said, referring to the death of Martinez.

“I know the family. They’re good friends of mine,” she added. “It’s been really tough.” She asked that her name not be published.