RIO RANCHO, N.M. —Police have made an arrest in a New Year’s Eve slaying in Rio Rancho.
Authorities with the Rio Rancho Police Department said they were called to a shooting in the 1600 block of Evelyn Drive NE about 10:40 p.m.
Police said this was a case of negligence. Officers told KOAT Action 7 News that Ryan Wathen, 20, picked up a gun without checking if it was loaded and then shot and killed his friend, Carlos Rueda, 22, during a party.
“The suspect did not make sure that the chamber was clear, that the gun was safe, before pulling the trigger,” Rio Rancho police Officer Janet Garcia said.
Investigators said Rueda, of Rio Rancho, suffered a gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
A 911 caller reported that Rueda, an employee of Rio Rancho Archery and Armory, was shot about 10:30 p.m. in the bedroom of a house in the 1600 block of Evelyn Drive NE in Rio Rancho.
Wathen later told family member that he did not intentionally shoot Rueda, police wrote in the complaint.
Instead, Rueda asked Wathen to pick up a pistol that was lying next to a computer in the bedroom, the complaint said.
Rueda allegedly gave Wathen assurances that the pistol was unloaded and said, “don’t you trust me?” police wrote in the complaint.
Rueda told Wathen to point the pistol at Rueda’s head and pull the trigger, the complaint said.
After the gun discharged, Wathen dropped the pistol and ran from the house because he was scared, it states.