Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Homicide, escapee keep Sheriff’s Office Busy


A teacher with the Jemez Valley School District was killed Jan. 31 and his alleged assailant is in custody and charged with homicide during what was an eventful week for Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

The teacher, Joseph William Keleher, 59, was found dead inside a Ponderosa home about noon that day, according to a news release. 

Sandoval County deputies responded to a 911 call from a property owner in Ponderosa, who found a broken window and the dead man inside in a small rental home.

An investigation identified David Salazar, 46, a resident of Ponderosa as a suspect. He was taken into custody, charged with homicide and transported to the Sandoval County Detention Center in Bernalillo.

A few days earlier, Sandoval County deputies were involved in a multi-county pursuit that resulted in Santa Fe County Sheriff Office deputies apprehending the suspect, only to have to escape a patrol vehicle.

The incident began the night of Friday, Jan. 27, when a red Hyundai allegedly driven by 41-year-old Manuelito Arguello nearly struck a patrol vehicle. Sandoval County deputies chased the vehicle north on Interstate 25, where Santa Fe County deputies joined the pursuit and caught up with it on a frontage road in Santa Fe. After crashing into a fence and a low-speed head-on collision with a Santa Fe deputy’s vehicle, the Hyundai got back onto the frontage road. The incident report says Arguello abruptly stopped the car and started to run but deputies caught up with him.

Arguello, who had a warrant for his arrest in Bernalillo County for a drunken driving incident, was said by deputies to have smelled of alcohol while he was in their custody.

After Arguello was handed off to Sandoval County deputies and while waiting for his vehicle to be towed, it was discovered Arguello escaped the patrol vehicle by opening a rear window and reaching through to open the door from the outside.

Arguello was still at large as of the Signpost’s deadline.

Meanwhile, New Mexico State Police are investigating a fatal Rio Rancho officer-involved shooting that occurred shortly after midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

According to a news release, Daemen Perea, 23, was on the balcony at the Arrowhead apartments with a firearm when officers arrived in response to a noise complaint. Two officers fired weapons at Perea after he failed to drop the firearm on their command. Despite efforts to revive him, Perea was pronounced dead at the scene by the Office of the Medical Examiner.


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