ActivePaper Archive Teen shot 3 times during banana hijinks - Hobbs News Sun, 4/30/2019

Teen shot 3 times during banana hijinks

• 15-year-old stable after 17-year-old accused of retaliating for banana tossed at car

Teenage hijinks nearly turned deadly early Sunday when a 17-year-old boy allegedly shot at another car, striking a 15-year-old driver three times, in a shooting that teenagers said was in retaliation for a banana being thrown at their car.

The 15-year-old Hobbs boy struck by bullets three times was in stable medical condition Monday, said Brian Dunlap, interim chief of the Hobbs Police Department.

The boy was flown to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, after being initially treated Sunday at Lea Regional Hospital. Police said the boy was shot once in his left forearm, once in his right elbow and once in his right leg.

Kevin Isaiah Hernandez, 17, of Hobbs, was charged Sunday with shooting at or from a motor vehicle involving great bodily harm, a second-degree felony, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony.

Dunlap told the News-Sun Monday that the shooting was not prom-related although the incident occurred just hours after the annual prom at Hobbs High School and involved several HHS students.

“I didn’t read anything that had anything to do with prom,” Dunlap said. “It was just some kids being silly and some others taking inappropriate action in return.”

Dunlap said the case remains under investigation and other charges are possible. He said the boys who reportedly conspired to throw bananas at cars had not been charged as of Monday.

“But the investigation is ongoing,” Dunlap said.

According to police reports, the shooting occurred shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of North Grimes Street and Paseo Corto.

Four teenage boys who were passengers in the car being driven by the 15-year-old shooting victim reportedly told police they stopped at a convenience store on North Grimes Street to buy bananas to throw at cars.

While the boys were heading southbound on Grimes Street, one of the boys apparently threw a banana at a northbound car, which swerved, turned around and chased the other car.

As the pursuing vehicle got close to them, the boys said they heard three or four gunshots and the 15-year-old driver began screaming that he had been shot. One of the boys told police he saw the front-seat passenger of the other car holding a black pistol immediately before the gunfire.

After the shooting, the boys said they stopped to help their friend and called police.

Police said they reviewed surveillance video from the city’s camera at the intersection of Joe Harvey Boulevard and North Grimes Street. Police said the video showed a car matching the description of the suspect vehicle turning northbound onto Grimes, then coming back through the intersection a few minutes later at a high speed, running a red light.

Police said an officer recognized the suspect vehicle from a private property accident a couple hours earlier at a fast-food restaurant along North Lovington Highway.

Police obtained an address for the owner of the suspect vehicle, and then went to a home in the 2200 block of North Gila Drive. Police said the suspect vehicle was parked in the front yard, with what appeared to be banana residue on the driver’s side headlight.

The driver of the suspect vehicle was taken to the Hobbs Police Department for an interview, and the suspect vehicle was towed to the Police Department pending a search warrant.

The driver reportedly told police he was driving northbound on Grimes Street with two other teenage boys when something was thrown at his car. The boy said he turned his car around to confront the occupants of the other car.

The driver of the suspect vehicle said he was attempting to pull in front of the other vehicle when his front-seat passenger, Hernandez, rolled down the passenger window and began shooting at the other car. The driver said he did not know Hernandez had a gun nor that he would shoot at the other car.

The driver identified his passengers, who are brothers, and escorted police to their home in the 500 block of East Kiva Street.

The two brothers, Hernandez and his 18-year-old brother, were then taken to the Police Department for interviews.

The 18-year-old boy said he was a rear-seat passenger in the suspect vehicle and he also didn’t know that his brother had a gun or intended to shoot at the car.

Police said Hernandez was interviewed and claimed a third passenger in the suspect car pulled out a gun and was going to shoot out the passenger window near the 17-year-old.

“Kevin said he took the gun from (the third passenger) and he began to shoot out the window at the vehicle,” Hernandez reportedly told police. “Kevin said he shot approximately six times and then gave the gun back to (a fourth occupant) as they drove way.”

Hernandez reportedly told police he did not know what happened to the gun after he gave it back to the alleged fourth occupant.

Police said only Hernandez said there was a fourth occupant in the suspect vehicle. The driver and the front-seat passenger of the suspect vehicle had told police there were only three people in their car.

Jeff Tucker may be reached at