ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Police Department homicide detectives have arrested a man they said shot and killed his neighbor in Northwest Albuquerque last weekend.
Christopher Taber, 38, is charged with an open count of murder. He was booked into the county jail Tuesday.
He is also referred to as Christopher Tabor in court documents.
Shortly before 5 p.m. on June 30, Taber called officers to his home in the 100 block of Cacy NW, near Second and Candelaria. He told them he had been in an argument with his neighbor, Daniel Salazar, and the two had exchanged gunfire, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
When officers arrived they found Salazar dead, slumped over in the driver’s seat of his car. An APD spokesman did not respond to questions from the Journal about how old Salazar was.
Taber told them he had seen Salazar at the mailbox and made a comment about Salazar’s dogs. He said the comment made Salazar angry and the two argued.
“Taber said Salazar opened the driver’s door and brandished a chrome, large barreled handgun,” a detective wrote in the complaint. “Taber said that Salazar then began shooting at his yard.”
Taber told detectives he went into his house, grabbed a rifle and fired back at Salazar from the entrance of his house.
However, after talking with other neighbors and hearing inconsistencies in Taber’s story, detectives decided he was not in any danger when he fired at Salazar.
No casings from Salazar’s gun could be found at the scene, according to the complaint.
Neighbors told police they’d heard a gunshot, then looked outside to see Taber – their landlord’s boyfriend – standing on a stack of pallets. They said he had propped a rifle on top of a fence and was aiming it west, looking through the scope.
Detectives say Taber contradicted himself throughout his version of events and the gun Salazar had in his car did not match the description of the gun he said Salazar fired at him. They said crime scene investigators determined the shooting could not have occurred the way he said it did.
“Christopher’s firing position was also set up in a hasty ambush style consistent with his statement during interview that he was a trained sharpshooter in the Navy,” a detective wrote in the complaint. “Due to the evidence and statements it appears that there was no immediacy of great bodily harm and/or death which Daniel posed to Christopher at the time Christopher fired.”
Prosecutors have asked for him to be held in jail until trial. A judge will make that determination at an upcoming hearing.