Thursday’s shooting claims life

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

A man held for questioning in Thursday night’s shooting death of a Tucumcari martial arts fighter has been released, police said Friday.

Albert Jason Pacheco Jr., 31, was killed in a fight on Main Street, police said. Police detained a man immediately after the shooting, then released him and turned the case over to New Mexico State Police. Officials have declined to name the man they questioned.

Pacheco was shot about 7:45 p.m. Thursday while fighters were being weighed in a gym in preparation for a martial arts event slated for Friday night at the Tucumcari Convention Center. The event, called the Desert Xtreme Blood War, was canceled because of the shooting, said Ron Wilmot, director of the center.

Pacheco had participated in fights similar to the ones scheduled Friday and was coaching a fighter scheduled to compete on Friday, family members said.

Police said they responded to a report of a fight at 7:43 p.m. Thursday in front of the VFW on Main.

“While responding to the call, Central Dispatch received a call from Trigg Hospital requesting an officer at the emergency room in reference to a gunshot victim,” a police news release said.

While officers were securing the fight scene on Main Street, other officers responded to the hospital where they learned Pacheco was being treated for a gunshot wound, the release said.

Witnesses said Pacheco had been brought to the hospital by private vehicle. He died at the hospital.

“A witness at the scene of the fight on Main Street told police that several men got out of a car and attacked another man who was next to his parked vehicle,” the release stated.

“The witness saw the man get knocked down. The witness heard sounds consistent with gunfire. The witness said the other men then ran to the small white passenger car and drove away,” the release said.

The release said the man who was attacked “reached into his vehicle and grabbed a gun and fired up over his shoulder.”

Police said the man who fired the gun was the first to call police.