By Sharna Johnson, Freedom New Mexico
Clovis police were in the process of arresting five suspects Tuesday night in connection with a series of armed home invasions in the Clovis and Portales area, according to a CPD press release.
The suspects — two male adults and three male juveniles — were taken into custody Tuesday morning while police were investigating the latest home invasion on Sheldon Street, police said.
Information gathered from the suspects also tied the group to a recent string of at least seven armed home invasions, according to Clovis Police Capt. Patrick Whitney. He said all had local gang ties.
One of those in custody, Jeremy Enriquez, 19, was charged on an unrelated, outstanding warrant for unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. Jail officials said his bond has not been set.
Whitney said he would release the names of the suspects — ages are 22, 17, 16 and 15 years old — and the charges against them on Thursday morning, Whitney said.
Whitney said possible ties to a Muleshoe home invasion are being investigated and the group is also being looked at by Texas authorities for home invasions in Lubbock, he said.
Just before 2 a.m. Tuesday police responded to the 1700 block of Sheldon Street for a report of shots fired and found a 28-year-old male walking along the street bleeding heavily from a head wound.
Justin Lawson said he had been battered in a home invasion at 1700 Sheldon, Whitney said.
Curry County sheriff’s deputies in the area also located a female walking on 16th Street and she eventually led them to her residence at 1607 Wallace Street where the suspects were located.
Whitney said the group was pretending to be asleep in a bedroom when police arrived Tuesday morning.
The female, who is not a suspect in the home invasions, later told police she was frightened because the suspects threatened her life and the lives of her children if she talked to police.
Items belonging to one of the Portales break-ins were found in the home. Police have not recovered property from the other robberies, Whitney said.
Whitney said the locations of the break-ins appeared to be random.
Lawson told police he was house-sitting for a friend and woke when a group of several masked males crashed through the door, Whitney said.
He told police he was ordered to the floor at gunpoint and the suspects attempted to wrap him in a sheet, but he fought them and struggled for the gun.
Whitney said the struggle went from the house to the front yard and the victim managed to break free and run.
He reported to police the suspects shot at him three to four times as he ran, Whitney said.
The injuries to the victim’s head were likely the result of being struck by a firearm, Whitney said.
Whitney said there have been three home invasions in Clovis, two in Curry County, two in Portales and one in Muleshoe in the last two weeks.
Capt. Lonnie Berry of the Portales Police Department confirmed Tuesday morning that an investigator from his department was in Clovis assisting with the case. Berry declined further comment, saying questions on the developments in the case should be directed to Clovis police.
Because of the frequency of the home invasions, Whitney said there was an increased law enforcement presence Monday night and Tuesday morning in Clovis, which helped officers quickly locate the suspects.
In the previous home invasions, police have said as many as five suspects have entered homes in the early morning hours armed with guns. Several of the victims’ vehicles have been recovered after the incidents, police have said.
In at least two of the incidents victims were injured when they were struck in the head with handguns, police have said.