A man shot and killed his 27-year-old neighbor in his Southwest Albuquerque home late Sunday night, police say.
It was the 74th homicide this year, already passing the previous record high of 72.
“Last night’s murder follows troubling trends involving gun violence, addiction and disputes turned deadly,” Albuquerque Police Department chief Michael Geier wrote in a statement. “That’s why we are aggressively targeting violent criminals, especially convicted felons who continue to use guns to commit additional crimes. We are tracking them down and we will use every tool we have to keep them behind bars.”
Early Monday morning, detectives arrested Jonathon Mendosa, 28, and charged him with murder. He was booked into the county jail.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, a little after 10 p.m., a woman called police to say her boyfriend, Cesar Humberto Valencia Jr., had been shot in their home on the 1400 block of Chester SW, near Sunset and Bridge SW.
The woman, Nisa Lucero, later told police she and Valencia had heard a knock on their bedroom window and he went to the front door to talk with a man dressed in a red shirt, white beanie and dark shorts. She peered out the window and heard Valencia tell the man “not to ever come to his house again,” according to the complaint.
Then, she said, she heard a gunshot.
“Ms. Lucero indicated Mr. Valencia Jr. then walked back into the house through the front door and fell down in the front bedroom gasping,” a detective wrote in the complaint.
Lucero and Valencia’s parents tried to save him, but he died. Valencia’s parents could not be reached Monday.
Lucero told officers she believed the shooter lived down the street, but she did not know his name. And, she said, she knew he and Valencia had done drugs together in the past, although they hadn’t in the past five months since Valencia was on probation.
The officers went to the house down the street and made announcements until two women – a grandmother and her granddaughter – came out. A short time later Mendosa – the granddaughter’s boyfriend – also exited.
Lucero was taken to the scene to identify Mendosa and she “indicated she was not positive because she believed the male talking with Mr. Valencia Jr. had a red shirt and he was now wearing a dark colored shirt.”
However, she did say she remembered the man had a large tattoo on his neck and Mendosa also has a large tattoo on his neck.
When detectives interviewed Mendosa, he said he “barely knew” Valencia and did not own any weapons since he was a convicted felon. Then he said he would rather speak with a lawyer.