MMA Fighter Reportedly Fights Off 4 Gang Members in Home Invasion, Killing 1

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MMA Fighter Reportedly Fights Off 4 Gang Members in Home Invasion, Killing 1
Via Joe Torrez's Instagram account

Shortly after ringing in the New Year in Las Cruces, N.M., professional MMA fighter Joe Torrez reportedly defended his home and family against four gang members, killing one and severely injuring another. Torrez could face criminal charges for his actions, according to Marc Raimondi of Fox Sports.

Torrez’s lawyer, C.J. McElhinney, has heard “rumblings” that charges may be filed against his client, telling Raimondi, “We’re taking the position that things have taken a turn for the worse.”

The incident happened in the early-morning hours of Jan. 1, according to James Staley of the Las Cruces Sun-News. Two of the four men invading Torrez's home had weapons; one of the men brought a sharp wooden shank, while the other grabbed a knife from the kitchen.

With his two-year-old son, his fiancee, her sister and another woman present, Torrez allegedly took out two of the attackers while the others fled the scene. Assailant Nathan Avalos was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, while assailant Sal Garces was found dead near Torrez's home.

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, the attack could have been premeditated. Torrez allegedly received a threatening phone call where a man told him (via Raimondi), “I’ll kill you and your family...I’ll go to your house.”

This may or may not be linked to an earlier assault; Torrez's fiancee's sister said she had been jumped prior to coming home, and one of the men arrested said the attack stemmed from a prior altercation.

According to Sherdog.com, Torrez has a 1-5 record, but his lawyer said that Torrez has more than six bouts and has been training in MMA for 10 years.

“When he (Torrez) decided to fight, he gave it his all,” McElhinney said. “He was outnumbered. These guys were armed, they were dangerous. His MMA training, his mental toughness contributed. I think that definitely was an edge.”

Torrez and his family have since left Las Cruces.

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