Chilling Details From The Las Cruces Bowling Alley Massacre

The intervention of the fire department and other first responders ruined most, if not all, of the crime scene evidence.

Dan Trujilo of the Las Cruces Police Department said, “It was never an easy case to begin with. If you remember the facts of the case, there were several people shot and then the suspects started a fire in the small office where the incident happened. So Las Cruces Fire had to go in there and put out the fire first,” as per KOB. Because forensic science was not as advanced in 1990, little thought was given to meticulous preservation of the office and surrounding area. 

The fire fighters had to come in to put out the fire, the bodies of the dead and wounded had to be dragged out, and first responders had to come through the bowling alley and office to do their jobs. It’s believed that in using fire extinguishers and hoses to put out the blaze, the Las Cruces Fire Department either contaminated or destroyed evidence at the scene.

Despite the imperfect crime scene and the limits of forensics at the time, the Las Cruces Police Department tried to investigate as thoroughly as possible. Though their efforts at the time didn’t turn up much usable evidence, new procedures and techniques have kept the investigation from going completely cold. Det. Amador Martinez was quoted on the subject in 2015, saying, “There’s always an ever-changing shift in technology. So we’re trying to utilize those the best we can” (via KFOXTV).

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