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2 dead in series of 4 Gallup, NM, shootings

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) – A father and son were killed in one of four Gallup-area shootings that occurred within a two-hour span, and police Tuesday were trying to determine if the cases are connected.

Clifton Harper, 39, and Roman Harper, 15, died after they were shot at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the northwestern New Mexico city, Deputy Police Chief John Allen said. The shooting happened in front of Pinon Hills Apartments and police say the victims were approached by a man selling bootleg DVDs and a fight ensued.

Police arrested two suspects, but their identities weren’t immediately released.

Mark Vincent, who lives near the apartment complex, told the Gallup Independent he heard a “couple of pops.” He thought they were firecrackers at first but said that when he looked out, he saw three or four police cars.

A police pursuit later stopped a car carrying two suspects in the shooting. One of the suspects was arrested. The other suspect sped away but was caught by McKinley County sheriff’s deputies.

An hour later, a man later identified as Byrumm Begay, 24, of Sundance, was shot in the parking lot of the Gallup Indian Medical Center after an argument with another individual, Allen told the newspaper.

There were no arrests in that case, and Allen said police were still looking for the shooter.

Authorities said Begay’s wounds were not life-threatening. He was taken to Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital for treatment.

A half-hour later, police said Travis Luchka, 28, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was shot in the face multiple times with a BB gun during an attempted carjacking at a gas station. Luchka was treated and eventually released from a hospital. No suspect was arrested.

Fifteen minutes after the attempted carjacking, someone with a BB gun tried to rob someone in the parking lot of the Navajo Nation’s Fire Rock Casino just east of Gallup.

Erny Zah, a spokesman for Navajo President Ben Shelly, said the would-be robber pointed a BB gun at the victim, demanded money and then shot the victim in the face after he said he didn’t have any cash.

Investigators didn’t know if there was a connection between the fatal shootings and the gunfire outside the medical center, but they do believe there’s a tie between the shootings involving the BB gun, Allen said.

Gallup is a city of about 22,000 residents about 120 miles west of Albuquerque.

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