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Silver City Police Department reports homicide, SWAT teams still on scene

On August 30, 2013 at about 11:10 am, officers from the Silver City Police Department responded to a report of a shooting at a residence at 1620 N. Swan Street in Silver City. Shortly after that call, at about 11:16am, the Dispatch Center received a call from the emergency room at Gila Regional Medical Center reporting two male subjects had arrived with gunshot wounds.

Upon the officers’ arrival at the emergency room, they were informed one of the victims was pronounce dead with a gunshot wound to the chest. The second victim was being treated for a gunshot wound to the abdomen area and is listed in serious condition at the time of this release.

The deceased is Eric Vega Jr, 19 years of age and the other victim is a José Varela, 17 years of age.

Through witnesses’ statements, a possible suspect was developed. At about 2:16pm, information was received by a New Mexico State Police Officer that the possible suspect was at the NM Children’s Youth and Families office, which is located at 3082 32nd Street By-Pass. The suspect, Filemon Varela Jr, 16 years of age, was taken into the custody without incident. Varela confessed to the shooting.

Filemon Varela is being charged with an open count of Murder, Aggravated Battery, Tampering with evidence, and Unlawful Possession of a Handgun by a Person Under the Age of 19. The weapon used in the shooting was a 9mm handgun.

The shooting apparently happened as a result of an argument between the subjects who are all family related. All involved reside in Silver City.

Assisting agencies were the Grant County Sheriff’s Office and their Special Response Team, New Mexico State Police, U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement, Deming/Luna County SWAT, Santa Clara Police Department and the U.S. Marshalls Service.

The Silver City Police Department, Grant County and Deming/Luna County’s SWAT teams are being used to gain entry into the residence at the location of the shooting because a witness indicated he saw a person run into the residence but had not come out. No one would come to the door.   The SWAT teams are still on scene at the time of this release.

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