16-year-old accused in Ragle Park slaying

  • In US
  • 2022-09-29 04:01:00Z
  • By The Santa Fe New Mexican

Sep. 29-A 16-year-old Santa Fe resident was arrested and charged Wednesday in the fatal August shooting of nursing home worker Samuel Cordero at Ragle Park.

Judah Trujillo is being charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence and will be booked into the San Juan County Juvenile Services Center, Santa Fe police said in a news release Wednesday.

"At this point, we believe that Trujillo was alone at the park, obviously with the victim," Capt. Aaron Ortiz said. "We do believe that he acted alone."

Cordero, 60, was found shot to death at Ragle Park before dawn on Aug. 10. Last month, Ortiz said police received a "man down" call at 4:37 a.m. from a citizen who initially found Cordero. The caller did not report hearing any shots fired.

Police identified Trujillo as their primary suspect in Cordero's death through their investigation and obtained an arrest warrant for him, along with two search warrants for residences he is associated with in Santa Fe, including one near Ragle Park, according the news release.

However, Trujillo was not found at either residence. Instead, Ortiz said police found and arrested him after learning he was at a family member's apartment.

Police apprehended Trujillo on Wednesday morning at the Casa Rufina apartment complex near Rufina Street and Richards Avenue. He was taken into custody without incident, according to the news release.

Ortiz said police have theories as to Trujillo's motive, but said he could not disclose them at this time.

"We're still learning more as we go," Ortiz said. "We have a lot of evidence to sift through that we've collected as a result of the search warrants."

Ortiz said Cordero's car was found by officers at the park in the days following the shooting. It is still not known why Cordero stepped out of his vehicle to visit the park before daylight.

"We know he drove there," Ortiz said in an interview last month, "but [we are still investigating] why he was within the park away from his vehicle."

Police said in August that Cordero suffered at least one gunshot wound, but they did not elaborate on whether he was shot multiple times. Ortiz declined to comment last month on how many times Cordero was shot, saying the information could be pertinent to the department's investigation.

The victim's sister, Teresa Cordero, said she and her family are still processing the news of Trujillo's arrest.

"I can't wrap my head around it," Teresa Cordero said of the suspect. "He's a kid."

Cordero's mother, Yvonne Harvey, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Late last month, Harvey remembered her son as a loving person who cared for others. His job at MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care allowed him to do just that.

"He cared about people," Harvey said. "He would go to work every day and very rarely called in [sick]. They could depend on him."

After Wednesday's arrest, there are now two still-unsolved homicide cases in Santa Fe this year.

Juan Emmanuel Vazquez-Salas, 19, was shot and killed June 6 in the Las Palomas Apartments parking lot on Hopewell Street. He died at the scene following attempts from police and paramedics to save his life.

Michael J. Trilling was beaten to death in late August in his home at the Casitas De Bella apartment complex on Cerrillos Road. His body was found Aug. 26 after staff at the complex called police seeking a welfare check on Trilling.


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