ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police say an armed robbery turned deadly late Friday when a 21-year-old bystander’s vehicle was sprayed with bullets at a Northeast Heights park — a round striking her before she crashed into a neighboring home.
Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque police spokesman, said Cayla Campos was playing Pokémon Go with her boyfriend at Bianchetti Park in the 12900 block of Granite NE, near Chelwood Park and Lomas, around 11:50 p.m. when they saw two people robbing someone in a vehicle on Granite.
“(Campos) turned her car around to leave the area when multiple shots were fired into her vehicle,” he said.
Gallegos said one of the bullets struck Campos and she crashed her car into the front of a home across the street from the park. She died at the hospital.
Tanner Tixier, another police spokesman, said earlier Saturday that Campos “appeared to have a gunshot wound (to) the back of the neck.”
Police are now asking the victims of the robbery, or anyone else with information, to come forward.
“She was an amazing girl,” a family member told the Journal as he fought back tears in Bianchetti Park on Saturday.
The man said Campos had a bright future; she had taken a year off but was planning to attend the University of New Mexico to be an oral surgeon.
On Saturday afternoon, the park was quiet aside from the gleeful screams of children on the playground and intermittent dribbling of a basketball on the court. A house across the street from the park had most of its front boarded up, apparently where the car had come to a stop.
Neighbors said they were awakened by the sound of several gunshots around 11:50 p.m. and a crash seconds later.
“I heard a great big bang and thought it was thunder,” neighbor Karen Johnson said. Soon after the flashing lights and crime scene tape of police and rescue crews flooded the neighborhood.
Another neighbor said the shooting happened outside his home and officers pulled casings from the bushes. He said the car hopped the curb and drove through the park, running over a sprinkler control box, before going back onto the street and crashing into the home.
Photos the man took show the car being pulled out of the front of the house, its back window shattered and numerous evidence markers along the driver’s side.