An argument over seating at an Albuquerque movie theater escalated into a shooting that left a man dead and sent frightened filmgoers scrambling to flee, police said Monday.
Detectives with the Albuquerque Police Department filed charges Monday in Metropolitan Court against 19-year-old Enrique Padilla in connection with the Sunday evening shooting at a cinema complex next to an interstate highway.
Padilla was at a hospital under guard Monday evening while being treated for a gunshot wound, police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said. It was unclear whether Padilla had a legal representative who could speak on his behalf.
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Witnesses told police that a man later identified as Padilla arrived at the theater with his girlfriend and found another couple in at least one of their reserved seats.
Theater staff attempted to help resolve the dispute, but it escalated with a hurled bucket of popcorn, shoving and then gunfire, according to police.
Michael Tenorio, 52, was shot and died at the scene. His wife, Trina Tenorio, said he was unarmed.
The shooter fled, and a wounded Padilla was found hiding behind a bush outside an emergency exit, according to police. A gun was also found outside that was compatible with spent casings from the shooting.
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Emergency dispatchers received about 20 calls as other people fled the theater.
A criminal complaint and arrest warrant against Padilla listed open counts of homicide, shooting at an occupied building and tampering with evidence.
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The complaint said Padilla was wounded in the abdomen but did not give further explanation.
An off-duty police officer who was in the movie administered emergency aid to Tenorio. The officer witnessed the confrontation but did not see a weapon in the darkened theater, reporting a rapid-fire succession of gunshots before one man in the dispute ran out.