Calif. killer suspect arrested in Tucumcari

By Ryan Lengerich

A California man was arrested last month in Tucumcari after police said he shot and killed a man in North Hollywood, Calif., and then disappeared from the scene.

New Mexico State Police learned on Nov. 22 that Marchell Wilson, 27, of Lancaster, Calif., was wanted for firearms violations and homicide. Officials in California said he was on a Greyhound bus headed east on Interstate 40. The bus was planning a brief stop in Tucumcari and detectives were seeking help with the man’s arrest.

Ben Hazen of the New Mexico State Police said Wilson was identified and arrested about 6:45 p.m. on Nov. 22 at the Greyhound bus stop on First Street.

“He was very cooperative and did not have any firearms with him,” Hazen said.

Wilson was taken to the Quay County Detention Center and later extradited back to California, officials said.

California authorities said police responded to a shooting on Nov. 20 in which a 26-year-old man died. Wilson and the victim were visiting a woman who was the mother of children from both men. An argument ensued and police said they believe Wilson shot the victim and fled the scene on foot.

Los Angeles Police Department Detective Martin Pinner said Wilson may have been traveling to Detroit to see family members when he was stopped in Tucumcari.
Pinner said LAPD received a tip that Wilson was on a bus heading east.

“He had called family and friends from several stops along the way,” Pinner said.

Greyhound bus driver Rudy Ortiz took over the bus Wilson was on in Albuquerque after a routine maintenance stop and driver switch. Ortiz said he remembers seeing Wilson when the passengers reboarded.

“I can tell who is going to be potential trouble,” Ortiz said. “He didn’t seem out of the ordinary.”

Ortiz spoke with Wilson during a brief stop in Santa Rosa and said Wilson thought the weather was cold compared to Los Angeles. Ortiz said Wilson was “cordial and congenial.”

Tucumcari was the dinner stop on the night Wilson was on board. Ortiz said he used the phone in the Tucumcari office and then he saw the police.

“I went back out and they had the guy handcuffed,” Ortiz said. “I asked what was going on and the police said he was wanted for murder in Los Angeles.”

Ortiz said neither he nor any passengers knew Wilson was wanted by police, though he would have appreciated being warned.

Hazen said there was no commotion during the arrest that would have startled other passengers.

“(The passengers) were real calm and didn’t seem to be real concerned,” Hazen said.

Wilson is being held in a California prison on more than $2 million bond, officials said.