New Mexico Death Near Route 66 Casino Under Investigation, Witnesses Questioned

Posted on: March 2, 2022, 04:33h. 

Last updated on: March 2, 2022, 09:34h.

New Mexico authorities continue to investigate Sunday’s death of a 63-year-old man near Route 66 Casino Hotel. The victim, identified by deputies as Larry Martinez, died after a fight turned violent, according to the local sheriff’s office.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales
Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales, pictured above. His office is investigating a death near Route 66 Casino in New Mexico. (Image: KRQE)

But the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office issued an initial statement on Monday that the “cause of death is unknown at this time.” It is likely that an autopsy will be performed on Martinez.

The situation began when someone notified the sheriff’s office that “several subjects” were “drinking alcohol, firing guns, and acting belligerent,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. The activity soon escalated to a physical fight, the statement adds.

It appears the altercation was taking place outside in the Southwest Mesa area of Albuquerque. But details on the location were not released by the sheriff’s office.

No Arrests So Far

The fight was in progress when deputies arrived at the site. Martinez was already dead, deputies reported.

Detectives then went to the crime scene and questioned several people. But so far, it does not appear the incident was related to the nearby casino, and no arrests were made.

Deputies are looking for witnesses and have searched the area for possible evidence.

“At this time, no formal charges have been filed, and the investigation is ongoing,” Monday’s statement said.

Prior Crime Near Casino

Last September, a suspect shot and killed a man east of Route 66 Casino Hotel. The victim was believed to be in his early 20s

The victim was shot several times. He died at the crime scene from the wounds. The incident apparently began as a kidnapping, according to KOB, a local TV station. It started off after a suspect abducted a woman and man — who turned out to be her brother, KOB said. The two victims were transported, apparently against their will, to the location near the casino.

So far, it appears no one was charged with the murder.

In another September incident, a fatal motor vehicle accident took place near the Route 66 Casino. It appears a single car rolled over on a New Mexico highway, KRQE, another local TV station, reported.

No other vehicles were involved. The accident forced the closure of all eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 for several hours.

The sheriff’s office later revealed a woman driver died from injuries suffered in the accident. Two juvenile passengers were injured. They were taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque for treatment, KRQE said.