ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A man who shot and killed a woman over a stolen backpack in late January killed another woman hours before because he was tired of her, police say.
Albuquerque Police Department officer Fred Duran said 20-year-old Angel Celis killed Myisha Garcia and Abril Lozano in separate shootings. Garcia, 27, was found shot dead in a North Valley backyard on Jan. 20, and Lozano, 30, was shot and killed in a northeast Albuquerque motel room later the same morning.
Duran said investigators were tipped off that the shootings were connected.
“The day after the homicides, the Albuquerque Police Department received an anonymous tip that the same person had shot both Lozano and Garcia,” he said.
Duran said the day began when officers were dispatched to the 4600 block of Eighth NW at 1:41 a.m. A man who had been vacuuming at the vacant home said he had tripped the breaker and, when he went into the backyard, he found “a bloody female lying on the ground,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
Celis’ girlfriend, Tanya Becenti, 32, told officers that Garcia had asked her for a ride, so she and Celis picked her up in a stolen vehicle. The trio drove to the home on Eighth Street and went into the backyard to “get high.”
Becenti told police that she remembered hearing a gunshot and “then heard Celis say something similar to ‘I just got tired of her,’ ” according to the complaint.
An autopsy found that Garcia had been shot in the back of the head.
The couple left Garcia’s body behind and drove to a home nearby, where they met up with India LaMere, 17.
Later that morning, officers were called to the Studio 6 Extended Stay motel at 4441 Osuna NE and found Lozano dead of a gunshot wound near the door to one of the rooms.
Celis and Becenti believed Lozano had stolen Becenti’s backpack, and they hatched a plot to confront her about it, according to the complaint. The pair enlisted LaMere to set up a meeting with Lozano and her boyfriend, Joseph Rivera, at the motel.
When Celis knocked on the door of the motel room, Lozano was the one who answered it. Celis shot her in the face, according to the complaint.
Celis and Rivera fought, and Celis dropped the gun, Duran said.
He said police later found the firearm at the scene and tied it to both killings.
“Analysis indicated the same weapon was used to shoot both victims,” Duran said. It had been stolen out of Sandoval County.
When an officer asked Celis about the shooting at the motel, he said he “had no idea” what the officer was talking about. But he also said that his DNA would probably be on the pistol because he had bought it after he was released from jail, according to the complaint. He said he had since sold the firearm.
Celis is charged with two open counts of murder in the killings, along with conspiracy to commit murder, tampering with evidence and receiving or transferring stolen property.
Becenti is charged with an open count of murder, conspiracy to commit a violent felony and tampering with evidence in connection with Lozano’s death.
LaMere was charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and was booked into the Juvenile Detention Center.
Earlier this week, police found a $45,000 watch, along with drugs, guns and stolen property, in a hotel room Celis was staying in. He was in jail on charges relating to those crimes when charged with the two murders.