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Educators fondly recall late brothers

From left, mother Marilyn and brothers 22-year-old Roberto and 14-year-old Adrian Velasquez celebrate Roberto’s graduation from the University of New Mexico in May. They died on Christmas Day, apparently shot by the brothers’ father and Marilyn’s husband, Carlos Velasquez, who then shot himself, at the family’s home in Northern Meadows.
Courtesy photo

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The late Velasquez brothers showed a lot of potential and had a drive for excellence, say Cleveland High staff members familiar with the two.

Rio Rancho Police say their father, Carlos Velasquez, apparently murdered them and their mother, Marilyn Velasquez, before he turned the gun on himself on Christmas Day in Northern Meadows. Fourteen-year-old Adrian was a freshman at CHS, and Roberto, 22, graduated from the University of New Mexico in May and was furthering his education at Stanford, hoping someday to work for NASA.

“Adrian was one of those kids that worked so hard and never gave up,” recalled Amy Hinkle, Adrian’s junior varsity soccer coach at CHS. “Adrian was a great teammate and friend. In fact, many outside of Cleveland soccer knew him as ‘AJ’ on the soccer field. He was always willing to push himself and go that extra mile.

“Adrian never second-guessed our coaching decisions and would excel wherever on the field that we would put him. Our coaching staff felt like he had the potential to have a great soccer career because of the unique way he played,” she said. “He was unselfish on the field. Coach Fernando Chavez and I would have to tell him to ‘shoot’ instead of passing it off to someone else often. By the end of the season, he had so much more confidence and we were excited for the years to come.”

The freshman played so well as the end of the season approached, Hinkle said, that “coach Chavez even once told me at the end of the season that he was scared that coach (Shaun) Gill would pull him up and we lose him from JV. Adrian was one of those kids you always wanted on the field.

“Adrian was not only an athlete, but made sure his academics were top-notch. Adrian wanted to be like his older brother and attend an outstanding school such as Stanford,” she added. “He always had a smile on his face and would love to joke around and have fun with his friends. He was definitely a pleaser when it came to friends and teachers.

“This is a tragic loss for not only the CHS boys soccer program, but for the entire soccer community,” Hinkle said.

The teenager also was a talented musician.

“Adrian was a promising trumpet player who was enthusiastic about music,” CHS band director Daniel Holmes said. “He carried himself extremely well and had a positive and respectful vibe that rubbed off on those around him. He was excelling in his academics and everything that he was involved in. The Cleveland Band family will miss him greatly.”

Also missed is Roberto, a 2015 CHS graduate.

“Roberto was a former student of mine,” said CHS teacher Angelica Olivas. “He was enrolled in my AP biology class for two semesters his junior year of high school.

“Roberto was a kind, passionate and extremely intelligent young man. He had a quiet demeanor but a kindness in his smile that put others at ease in his presence. He set the bar for excellence and his determination for success let you know that he was destined for greatness in all that he should pursue in his future,” she added. “He was a kind of student that every teacher hopes to teach and he restored a sense of faith in our future generations. It saddens me that we will never see all that he was destined to become.

“We lost a piece of our Storm heart and I will carry the memory of Roberto with me. My deepest condolences to the family.”

The New Mexico Pink Ladies are hosting a candlelight vigil for the Velasquez family at 5:30 p.m. today (Jan. 5) at King Meadows Park, 3601 King Blvd. It’s open to the public.

Attendees are asked to bring candles.

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