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Suspect arrested in slaying of UNM baseball player

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Detectives caught the man they say gunned down a University of New Mexico student-athlete in Nob Hill less than 24 hours after he was charged in the case.

Police found Darian Bashir — suspected of killing UNM baseball player Jackson Weller, 23, last weekend — at a Northeast Heights apartment complex early Saturday, Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said.

After a short foot chase, Bashir, 23, was in cuffs and later booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on an open count of murder.

Darian Bashir in a Feb. 2019 booking photo (MDC)

Gallegos said detectives had gone to the apartments just after midnight looking for Bashir, but could not say which complex, if he was found in an apartment or whether anyone was with him. He also couldn’t say how police knew Bashir was there.

“Our homicide detectives and investigators worked tirelessly during the past week to identify and build a case against this violent offender,” Police Chief Mike Geier said in a statement. “This was a complex case that involved many witnesses. I appreciate the thorough job detectives did to resolve the case and bring justice to Jackson’s family and friends.”

Gallegos told reporters Saturday afternoon that Bashir is a confirmed gang member with “gang history” but did not elaborate on those ties. He said APD’s gang unit was assisting in the investigation.

Bashir has had several run-ins with Albuquerque police in the past several years.

In two of the more serious cases, police say Bashir shot and injured a man Downtown and, in February, was accused of firing weapons out of a car along with three others in Southeast Albuquerque.

Weller’s death is the most heinous accusation against Bashir yet, one that shocked the community and spurred local leaders to act.

Mayor Tim Keller on Friday held a news conference alongside the major players in local law enforcement, the UNM president and others to condemn the killing, rally behind pretrial detention for violent offenders and announce new initiatives to crack down on crime in Nob Hill, where the shooting occurred outside a Central Avenue bar.

Jackson Weller

Court records say officers responded to the call at Central and Richmond NE around 2:15 a.m. May 4 and found Weller lying in the street. He had been shot once in the chest and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Police say video surveillance showed a man – later identified by police as Bashir – walk up to Weller, pull a gun from his waist and shoot him. The assailant is then seen getting into a vehicle that speeds away through a back alley.

Police say three witnesses identified Bashir as the man who shot Weller.

One witness told police he heard a gunshot and saw Bashir walking away holding a gun. Two others say they saw Bashir shoot Weller and walk away as Weller collapsed, according to court documents.

Friends of Weller’s who were with him told detectives he had been in a fistfight with several people before the shooting but that Bashir was not one of them.

It is unclear whether Bashir was driving the getaway vehicle, and police have not said whether they are seeking anyone else in connection with the case.

“Gun violence is pervasive throughout the country, including right here in Albuquerque,” Keller said in a statement Saturday. “We have to show resolve and commit to a multi-pronged approach to ending gun violence.”

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