Santa Fe teen facing murder charge in shooting
A Santa Fe teen accused of shooting his mother’s boyfriend during a confrontation last month at a midtown apartment complex is now facing a charge of second-degree murder after the man died from his wounds early Sunday.
Police initially charged 16-year-old Hunter Woods with aggravated battery, accusing him of shooting 39-year-old Ricardo Magana in the abdomen with a shotgun shortly after midnight April 29. Magana was hospitalized in critical condition, but authorities said he was expected to survive.
Meanwhile, Woods, a Santa Fe High School student, eluded police for more than a week before being arrested May 7 off Zafarano Drive.
Officials with the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where Magana was receiving treatment, told the Santa Fe Police Department the man died from his injuries around 3 a.m. Sunday, according to Deputy Chief Ben Valdez.
District Attorney Marco Serna said in an email Tuesday the man’s death prompted his office to move forward with more serious charges against Woods. The agency plans to present a second-degree murder case to a grand jury and is aiming to try him as an adult on the count of battery.
“We are filing a notice to seek Adult Sanctions today on the current aggravated battery (with a deadly weapon) charge,” Serna wrote in the email, “and we will amend the petition with homicide charges.”
Woods’ mother did not respond to a email request for comment on the case.
Days before Magana’s death, Capt. Paul Joye said the department hadn’t yet ruled out charges against Magana; he had been accused by Woods’ mother of attacking her with a baseball bat before the shooting.
Police say they believe Magana is from San Diego and might have moved to Santa Fe in the past six months. No other information could be found about the man, who officers found bleeding in the doorway of his girlfriend’s apartment.
Woods’ mother had called 911 to report the shooting, saying her son had fired a shot at Magana to protect her as Magana struck her with a bat. According to a police report of the incident, Woods had “fired a warning shot to get the male to stop his action and then fired the shotgun a second time at the male, striking him in the chest.”
Woods then took his mother’s car and fled from the apartment.
His mother declined to speak with officers about the incident after they arrived at the scene, telling them she already had given her report to the 911 dispatch operator.
Two days after Magana’s shooting, as officers continued to search for Woods, the teen became a suspect in two other shootings on the south side of Santa Fe; no one was reported injured in either incident.
Acting on a tip, officers finally found Woods nearly a week later, riding in a rented Volkswagen Jetta with 19-year-old Jesus Ronquilla-Avita near Rufina Street. They followed the Jetta to the Regal Cinemas Santa Fe 14 parking lot on Zafarano Drive, where they arrested Woods without incident.
Officers also arrested Ronquilla-Avita on an outstanding warrant.
According to a search warrant affidavit, officers found a Ruger .380-caliber handgun, drugs and drug paraphernalia in the car.
Woods remains incarcerated at the Santa Fe County juvenile detention center.
It’s unclear if he is still considered an enrolled student at Santa Fe High. Citing the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which requires permission from a parent to release a student’s records, Santa Fe Public Schools spokesman Jeff Gephart said the district could not provide any comment on Woods.