Man charged in hit-and-run death of El Paso teacher previously arrested for assault


The man charged in the hit-and-run death of an El Paso teacher early Thanksgiving morning was previously arrested for a 2017 assault, court records show.

As KTSM previously reported, Joel Velazquez, 24, allegedly ran a red light and hit Amanda Weyant Ferguson, 28, as she crossed Mesa at Cincinnati at about 2 a.m. Thursday.

Weyant, a 6th grade teacher at Eastwood Heights Elementary School, died at the scene. 

Police say Velazquez immediately drove away. Investigators later found his vehicle, a red Chevy Cavalier, parked in a nearby neighborhood.

He was arrested Saturday and is currently being held at the El Paso County Detention Facility under a $150,000 bond.

According to a criminal complaint affidavit obtained by KTSM, the previous incident happened the night of July 11, 2017 at the Sundial Apartments located at 5515 Alabama.

The affidavit states that the alleged assault began when Velazquez’s neighbor confronted him and his wife about smoking marijuana outside his apartment.

The woman reportedly replied “f— you” and said she was “asthmatic”. An argument ensued, according to the affidavit. 

Later that night, the neighbor told investigators that he spoke to Velazquez’s father and advised that his son was smoking marijuana in front of his child.

“Mijo doesn’t do that,” the father responded before closing the door on the neighbor, according to the affidavit. 

The neighbor then walked back to the apartment, but returned a second time to try to clear things up with Velazquez.

According to documents, Velazquez opened the door and punched the neighbor in the mouth, breaking his front upper dentures.

Velazquez told investigators that he saw the neighbor with his hand in his pocket with an unknown object.

“You don’t know how to use your fist?” he told the man.

The neighbor later told investigators that he pulled out a pocket knife after Velazquez allegedly punched him.

According to the affidavit, Velazquez said the man threw the knife behind him, but later retrieved it and began walking towards his wife. 

Both Velazquez and the victim said that Velazquez’s father eventually intervened and brought him back inside the apartment.

According to court records, Velazquez was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility and was released on bond that day.

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