SANTA FE – Witness descriptions indicate the shooting death of an Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo man on Saturday was the result of a road rage incident, but witness accounts about who was the aggressor differ.
The parents of the man charged with homicide —who were in their SUV with him during the shooting — told FBI agents their son fired the fatal shot because he was scared of a masked, armed man who was approaching their vehicle. But another eyewitness said the man who was killed only had a baton.
Meanwhile, an FBI complaint against the shooter doesn’t say whether a baton or sawed-shotgun was recovered at the scene.
On Wednesday, agents from the FBI’s Albuquerque division arrested 24-year-old Dennis Velasquez of Gallina on charges of murder and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence. The shooting happened on N.M. 68 north of Española Saturday afternoon across from the Ohkay Travel Center, near the pueblo’s casino.
An FBI criminal complaint and affidavit, filed in U.S. District Court Thursday, did not identify the victim, born in 1965, other than to refer to him as P.G. and “Glock.” But friends and family of Phillip Glock, 53, have identified him on social media as the shooting victim.
Special agent Michelle Cobb wrote the victim had an apparent gunshot wound to his face. According to the complaint, his young children were in a white Toyota Tacoma pickup he’d been driving just before he was killed. Glock had been involved in a road rage incident with what was later identified as a red Mazda SUV.
Velasquez’ father, who was driving the Mazda, told agents his son was trying to protect his parents because Glock was coming toward them wearing a mask and holding what appeared to be a gun. He said his son “didn’t shoot to kill the man, but wanted to scare him.”
The complaint says Velasquez and his parents were running an errand in Española when they decided to go to the casino for cigarettes. The white pickup truck tried to turn onto the highway ahead of them. Velasquez’s father, who was driving, said he did not let the truck through because he had the right-of-way.
Velasquez’s father then turned onto the middle portion of the road to cross over to a gas station. That’s when the white pick-up pulled up and the driver “pointed his truck” at the Velasquez group’s Mazda, the father said.
According to Velasquez’s father, “without putting the truck in park, the male driver jumped out and ran toward (the Mazda) with what appeared to be a sawed off shotgun next to the outside of his right leg. The man was wearing what looked like a surgical mask or a gold wrap over his mouth area and had a hoodie pulled over his head.”
Velasquez’s father told agents his son then shot the man with a .243 bolt-action rifle through a back window of the Mazda, shattering the glass. The affidavit states that another Velasquez family member later told agents that they kept a rifle in the car “for fear of gang and drug dealer activity in Española.”
Glock’s young son told agents he had seen the passengers in the Mazda smoking and drinking. On the highway, the Mazda got in front of the truck, the son said, and people inside flipped off the group inside the truck, and the Mazda almost caused the truck to hit another vehicle.
“Glock rolled down his window and yelled to the other car to tell them there were kids in the (truck),” according to the son’s account. Glock’s daughter said she heard the (Mazda) driver say “‘Oh (expletive) he had kids!” after the shooting.
An eyewitness who was in another car on the highway said the white pickup truck cut off the Mazda SUV. The driver of the Mazda then tried to hit the pickup truck and run it “off the road,” this witness said. After both vehicles pulled over, the pickup truck driver exited his vehicle with a baton in his hand and then fell to the ground, the witness said.
Velasquez was arrested Wednesday. Velasquez’s father told agents he drove away from the shooting scene because he didn’t have a phone to call police and “didn’t trust Indian cops,” according to the FBI complaint.
Velasquez was still in federal custody Thursday.