It's natural that terrible tragedies like the slaughter at the Orlando nightclub on Sunday capture attention, with their unpredictability, high death counts and connections to terrorism. But the slayings in Roswell were a reminder that a preponderance of the roughly 11,000 annual gun homicides happen within people's homes, on street corners and in other places that involve a small number of people.
The news Sunday was focused on the massacre in Orlando, where, police said, 29-year-old Omar Mateen killed at least 49 people and injured 53 others at the Pulse nightclub, a popular gay gathering spot. Officials said Mateen held at least four hostages in a bathroom and called 911, calmly describing his loyalty to the Islamic State and then making references to bomb belts or explosives. Eventually, Orlando police shot and killed Mateen.
In the hours leading up to the shooting rampage in Orlando, police in New Mexico were in the middle of their own murder investigation.
About 11:15 p.m. Saturday, relatives went to check on the family when they could not reach them and stumbled upon a grisly scene, police said. The fatal shootings apparently occurred earlier in the day, according to authorities. Villegas-Hernandez, 34, was nowhere to be found.
On Monday morning, as federal, state and local officials in Orlando discussed their investigation at a news conference broadcast live across the country, police in Roswell said they were working on a case of their own. Roswell police spokesman Todd Wildermuth said in an interview that Villegas-Hernandez was found in Sonora, Mexico; local police, he said, were asking authorities there to hold Villegas-Hernandez while they work on his extradition.
A medical examiner is performing autopsies to confirm the victims' identities and their official cause of death, police said.
Villegas-Hernandez's wife and children were not the only victims of gun violence in the United States on Saturday. At least 10 other people died Saturday in multiple-victim shootings in which four or more people were shot or killed in a single incident, not including the shooter, according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.
In 2014 there were 280 multiple-victim shootings. Last year there were 330. This year, there have been 136 reported as of May 31.
The shooting in Orlando came as cities across the country were holding gay pride festivals, celebrating the upcoming anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage.
President Obama called the shooting "an act of terror and an act of hate."
Authorities said Mateen, the gunman, walked into Pulse armed with a handgun and an assault-rifle-type weapon, both purchased legally. In the early hours Sunday, people inside the club started sending desperate text messages to loved ones outside.
As with other mass shootings in recent years, the horror in Orlando has prompted debates about gun laws and calls for change.
Obama said the violence was "a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be."