Las Cruces community mourns man killed at a house party, seeks justice


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM)— With candles, signs and balloons, several dozen Las Cruces community members gathered at Young Park for a vigil to remember the life of Nicodemus “Nico” Gonzales.

Las Cruces Police say Gonzales, 23, was shot and killed at a house party last weekend. As KTSM previously reported, police arrested Isaiah James William Taylor, 19, and an unidentified 17-year-old boy. They were charged with an open count of murder, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count each of shooting at a house or dwelling.

Xochitl Gonzales, Nico’s mother, was in tears as she spoke about her son amongst loved ones at the park.

“Nico was amazing, always wanting to help somebody,” Gonzales said.

Nico has a 2-year-old son, Nilo. Gonzales and the boy’s mother said he’s too young to understand what happened, but he walked over to a tree where a picture of his father was posted at the vigil and pointed at it.

“At 23, the man that he was, I guarantee you, I guarantee you most children want that type of father,” Gonzales said.

She said she doesn’t know what happened the night of the house party or what lead to the shooting, but she was happy to see there were arrests made in the case.

“I feel good, really good, but I think more need to be made,” Gonzales said.

Friends, family and even people in the community who didn’t personally know Nico showed up to the vigil and spoke about his character as well as the message to parents to step up and keep an eye out for their children.

“This can’t continue to happen, it just can’t, I would say for everyone just to love each other love, your babies — that’s what Nico would’ve wanted,” Gonzales said.

She said she would continue pushing for justice.

“I’m going to make sure my son’s death wasn’t in vain,” Gonzales said.

KTSM requested the court arrest documents but they were sealed to “protect witnesses.”

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