Lea County Sheriffs Office deputies, with the assistance of the U.S. Marshal’s Office arrested a Lovington man on warrants after he allegedly got into several altercations with a family member, the most recent resulting in that family member being chased in his vehicle by the offender with a gun.
Joel Perez, 40, of Lovington, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with three counts of retaliation against a witness, each a second-degree felony; aggravated assault against a household member, aggravated assault and shooting at or from a motor vehicle, all fourth-degree felonies; aggravated battery, a third-degree felony and failure to appear, a misdemeanor.
According to the LCSO report, on May 4, deputies were contacted by a victim who claimed to have just been chased by a family member along the Lovington Hwy.
“While speaking to (the victim) over the phone, I concluded (the victim) was clearly scared of what had occurred based on the way (the victim) was speaking to me (deputies),” the report states. “(The victim) was not able to speak clearly and was stuttering (the victim’s) words when speaking to me.”
The victim was advised to meet deputies at Hobbs Police Department for an interview and the victim explained to deputies he was driving on Lovington Highway towards Hobbs when he passed a truck. That is when the victim told deputies Perez was in the truck pointing a black handgun.
“(The victim) stated (the victim) saw the muzzle of the handgun pointing at (the victim),” the report states. “(The victim) stated (the victim) then sped up to approximately 110 miles per hour to get away from Joel. (The victim) stated Joel kept (up) until (the victim) was able to lose Joel near the area of the Allsup’s convenience store (near New Mexico Junior College).”
Deputies were provided with an incident report and arrest warrant from Lovington Police Department deputies for an incident that occurred on the previous day between the same two individuals. In that incident the victim and Perez allegedly got into an altercation that resulted in a handgun being fired at the victim’s vehicle and the victim being pistol-whipped by Perez.
“The victim saw (Perez) rapidly approaching from the west (back) of the vehicle,” the report states of the previous day’s incident. “The defendant (Perez) then did state to (the victim), ‘Say something, expletive,’ and then the defendant (Perez) brandished and racked and pointed at the victim what was described as a black and silver semi-automatic pistol.”
“Yeah, get scared – I want to talk to you,” Perez allegedly stated to the victim. “I’ve got four guys out there (in the s u r ro u n d i n g field) that are watching and I told them if they see a cop car coming, to kill y’all and burn the expletive trailer.”
The victim, according to the report, had (a companion) at the time of this altercation and Perez allegedly threatened (the companion) as well stating, “Don’t get scared, I just want to talk to (the victim).”
“(Perez) then picked the gun up off the seat and allowed the victim to get in the vehicle,” the report states. “When the victim turned (the victim’s) head back towards the left after trying to calm (the companion), the defendant (Perez) did strike (the victim) in the (mouth) area with the pistol, causing lacerations to the lip area.”
According to the report, the victim proceeded to reverse the vehicle to get away from Perez and when that happened the victim allegedly saw Perez, “aim the pistol at the victim’s vehicle in a firing stance position and then heard approximately three shots.”
Lovington police detectives stated upon inspection of the victim’s vehicle there was an “appearance of a single gunshot entry hole to the upper portion of the passenger side rear door window of the victim’s vehicle behind where (the companion) sat. Shattered glass was apparent on the back seat of the vehicle. What appeared to be a damaged bullet was found when the driver-side rear door of the vehicle was opened for inspection.”
Lovington PD detectives also noted to have found two “live rounds and one spent shell casing” on the ground in front of the victim’s trailer.
Lea County deputies also reviewed 911 calls and heard the victim’s niece telling the dispatcher “(the victim) lives at the next trailer and I guess they were shooting at each other.” The dispatcher is heard asking who was shooting and the nephew is heard saying, “I think it’s (the defendant) that (the victim) was having problems with before. (The victim) took off but I think (Perez) fired at his vehicle.”
According to the report, the caller was able to identify the victim and Perez by name and was heard on the call clarifying with someone else “It’s my cousin Joel, shooting at (the victim). It was my cousin shooting at (the victim).”
This is not Perez’s first run-in with the law. He currently has charges pending from April 28 for receipt, transportation, or possession of a firearm or destructive device, a third-degree felony; and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and shooting at or from a motor vehicle, both fourth-degree felonies.
Perez is currently being held in Lea County Detention center on a $9,000 unsecured cash bond. He is scheduled to appear for his current charges on August 31 before Lovington Magistrate David Finger.