Nampa police believe fatal shooting victim was intentionally shot

Jesus Avila Jr.
Jesus Avila Jr.

Nampa police say they do not believe a shooting that led to the June 22 death of 25-year-old Ricardo O. Keith was a random act.

Authorities are searching for Jesus “AJ” Avila Jr., 31, who is believed to have shot Keith while the victim drove in the afternoon along the 600 block of East Florida Avenue, near Ivy Street.

Police say Avila was driving another vehicle, got out and approached Keith. He allegedly shot Keith once, returned to his vehicle and fled. The vehicle was later found abandoned less than a half-mile away, in the 1500 block of Garland Street.

“We don’t believe he was just driving down the road and shot him,” Capt. Curt Shankel said.

Police do not believe the shooting was a gang act, Shankel said.

Keith most recently listed an address in Athens, Ala. However, he previously lived in Boise, going back to when he was a teenager.

Avila was released from state prison last August, after serving sentences for aggravated assault and possession of a controlled substance out of Canyon County.

He was cited by Nampa police in April for misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and failure to appear. He pleaded not guilty to those charges two weeks before Keith was shot and is scheduled to appear for a pre-trial hearing in that case on July 6 in Canyon County Magistrate Court.

Anyone with information about Avila’s whereabouts, contact the Nampa Police Department at 208-465-2257, or call Crime Stoppers at 208-343-2677.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @IDS_Sowell