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Murder suspect on the loose

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Police were searching Thursday night for a man accused of shooting and killing a man Thursday morning on the southeast side of Hobbs.

The suspect, Steven A. Salazar, of Hobbs, had been arrested by police earlier this month after he allegedly shot a different man four times. Salazar was also arrested on a drug charge earlier this month, when he reportedly told police that he is a drug addict.

Hobbs police officers responded at 3:48 a.m. Thursday to the 1000 block of South Elm Street after receiving a report of a person who had been shot.

Police found 26-year-old Arnulfo Barrientos-Ibarra, of Hobbs, suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Investigators learned that 30-year-old Steven Salazar, of Hobbs, allegedly shot Ibarra and left the scene prior to officers arriving,” stated a news release from the Hobbs Police Department issued at 6:40 p.m. Thursday.

Authorities issued a warrant for Salazar’s arrest Thursday on charges of murder, a second-degree felony, and felon in possession of a firearm, a fourth-degree felony. He was at large as of presstime.

Police said a judge has determined there will be no bond upon Salazar’s arrest.

“If you have any information about this incident or the whereabouts of Salazar, please call the Hobbs Police Department at 575-397-9265 or Lea County Crime Stoppers at 575-393-8005,” the HPD stated. “You can also private message our Facebook page and remain anonymous.”

Salazar was arrested by Hobbs police July 5 in connection to an April 29 shooting at a home in the 500 block of East Park Street. Police said Salazar’s fingerprints were found on a car parked in the victim’s driveway, and the victim, who was shot four times but survived, reluctantly identified Salazar as his shooter.

Police said a search of the home revealed five spent bullet casings, two live bullets, three apparent bullet holes in the walls, and two areas of blood.

“(The victim) advised that he was friends with Steven, and that they had spent time together earlier on April 29th 2019 without issues,” states the criminal complaint. “The stomach wounds had stippling, consistent with gunshot from a short distance. This would suggest that (the victim) was facing his shooter and was close to the shooter at the time of the shooting.”

A warrant for Salazar’s arrest was issued May 24 for the Park Street shooting. He was charged with aggravated battery, a third-degree felony, and possession of a firearm by a felon, a fourth-degree felony. He was arrested on the charges July 5, and subsequently released on a $3,000 unsecured bond by Hobbs Magistrate Judge Willie Henry.

Salazar was arrested again by the HPD on July 10 on a felony drug charge after a 12:12 a.m. traffic stop just west of the intersection of North Turner and West Sanger streets.

Police said Salazar requested his cigarettes from the sport utility’s vehicle’s console, and an officer retrieved the pack of cigarettes, which police said contained a plastic baggy with a black tar substance consistent with heroin.

Salazar reportedly told police he has a drug problem.

“I’m an addict, man,” Salazar reportedly told a police officer.

Police said the baggy contained 1.3 grams of heroin. He was charged then with possession of a controlled substance, a fourth-degree felony. Henry released Salazar on July 11 after he posted $500 of a $5,000 cash or surety bond.

Jeff Tucker may be reached at managingeditor@hobbsnews. com.

Burkett Shaw
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