Crime

LCPD: 3 roommates charged, shot each other during fight

EL PASO, Texas - Investigators with the Las Cruces Police Department arrested all three men shot May 18, 2017 during what is believed to be a botched robbery of a roommate, police officials said.

The shooting happened at a home on the 1800 block of Calle de Sueños shortly before 11 p.m.

Edward "Eddy" Hartley, 36; James Melendres, 24; and Joseph Aragon, 25, all lived in the home, police said. All three were shot during the incident and all three were charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, police said.

When officers arrived on scene to investigate a shots fired called, they found Melendres, with a gunshot wound to his neck, outside the home. Hartley was seen stepping outside the home but went back inside and closed the door, police said.

Officers carried Melendres away from the home and then made contact with Hartley, suffering from two gunshot wounds.

Officers the located Aragon in the home, inside a bathtub. Melendres and Aragon each received five gunshot wounds and were both in critical condition when transported to University Medical Center of El Paso, police said.

Hartley had two gunshot wounds and was transported to a Las Cruces hospital.  The three men have since been released.

Investigators believe Melendres and Aragon, armed with handguns, attempted to steal money from Hartley.

Investigators believe Hartley was shot and then wrestled a .357 caliber revolver away from Melendres during a barrage of gunfire. More than 30 rounds were fired during the incident, investigators said.

Police located the .357 caliber revolver in a black bag on a sofa inside the home. A .38 caliber revolver was found near where Aragon was found and DNA tests linked the .357 to Hartley and Melendres, police said. DNA tests also revealed Melendres and Aragon handled the .38.

Investigators learned that all three suspects have previous felony convictions and are not permitted to possess or handle firearms.

Hartley may not have initially possessed a firearm during the incident, but "his firing of multiple rounds after the threat had been mitigated is believed to be beyond the scope of self-defense," police said.

Warrants were obtained for the arrests of all three men. Hartley was arrested Sept. 8 in Las Cruces, Melendres on Sept. 12, and Aragon on Sept. 15 in Hobbs, N.M.

Bond for all three men was set at $50,000 cash. Hartley posted a $5,000 bond and has been released.


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