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‘It is shocking’: Las Cruces residents recall troubling moments that followed shooting death of woman

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Neighbors are deeply disturbed after they believe they saw a man drag a woman's body into a car on Wednesday in Las Cruces.

Police arrested 43-year-old Steven Valdez in connection with the shooting death of his girlfriend, Brittany Skaggs, at a trailer park on 2230 Doña Ana Road.

"It is shocking," one neighbor told ABC-7. "I can't understand why he would shoot his own girlfriend."

According to court documents obtained by ABC-7, Skaggs and Valdez lived on the 300 block of Linda Vista Road in central Las Cruces.

A friend of Skaggs told police that he had a history of being violent, allegedly throwing knives at his girlfriend and attempting to drown her in the past. That friend told officers that Skaggs had asked to stay in her trailer on Wednesday while Valdez cooled down.

However, that friend said Valdez tried to enter her apartment and hit her with the butt of his gun. When Skaggs tried to intervene, she said Valdez shot at Skaggs five times, then allegedly pulled her unconscious body by the hair into the backseat of a car.

"My neighbor came up and said, 'He hit me with a gun and shot my friend,'" one witness recalled to ABC-7.

One woman said she saw an officer pull Skaggs from the backseat.

"I saw him pull out her body from the car and she looked limp," she said. "He started doing compressions right away. I knew right then that she was probably not going to make it."

When police arrived on scene, officers say Valdez sped off in a motorcycle at speeds of 100 miles per hour. They say he crashed his motorcycle on 5105 South Main Street, eight miles from where the shooting took place.

According to the Third Judicial District Attorney's Office, Valdez has faced multiple arrests for violent crimes in the past 20 years, including armed robbery, battery and assault on a household member, battery on a peace officer and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Neighbors were heartbroken to learn Skaggs had died after the shooting.

"He was supposed to protect her and love her and be there for her," one neighbor said. "He took her life away from her."

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Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is a former ABC-7 New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and weekend evening newscast anchor.


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