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Mother, child narrowly escape bullets shot at home

The Albuquerque Police Department's violent crimes unit and State Police investigate an officer involved shooting in Southwest Albuquerque early Friday morning. (Roberto E. Rosales / Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Around 10 a.m. Thursday, an Albuquerque mother and her 4-year-old daughter were in a bedroom of their home at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in the northwest part of town when they heard gunshots. After the mother ran to the window and saw a gunman, she and her daughter immediately dropped to the ground as more shots rang out.

The bullets pierced the home's exterior wall, entered a closet, passed through some shoes, and were stopped by the interior wall of the bedroom where the mother and daughter lay on the floor.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court on Friday, the mother described the suspected shooter as wearing a black hat and standing near a silver Hyundai.

A little more than 14 hours later, detectives spotted the suspected gunman, whom they had identified as Daniel Montoya, on Albuquerque's West Side. Officers say he shot at them and one officer returned fire, injuring him.

Gilbert Gallegos, a spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department, said a gun was found at the scene where Montoya was shot.

Daniel Montoya, 31 (MDC)

No officer or civilian was injured in the incident.

Gallegos said 31-year-old Montoya was wounded and taken to a hospital to be treated before he was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Friday afternoon.

Montoya is charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, shooting at an occupied dwelling, tampering with evidence and aggravated assault on a police officer.

Shots fired

According to the criminal complaint, on Thursday morning a woman called 911 to report the gunshots fired into her home on the 1600 block of Casa Florida, near Unser and Ladera NW. She said she saw a man in the street next to a car immediately before the shots were fired.

Detectives responded to the scene and found a stolen red Hyundai Sonata parked in a neighbor's driveway. In that car was a receipt for a meal from McDonald's that had been purchased just an hour earlier.

The hunt was on.

According to the complaint, security video from McDonald's showed a man wearing a blue and white jersey in the red Hyundai. Detectives believed this same man was at the scene of the shooting on Casa Florida, although he was not the one who fired at the house.

That man, James Gonzales, 21, was found in another stolen vehicle, a Kia, several miles away and arrested by New Mexico State Police officers.

Gonzales, who was on federal probation, was taken to police headquarters to be interviewed.

He has since been booked into MDC and charged with several felonies, including aggravated eluding, reckless driving, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle.

During questioning, Gonzales told officers he had picked up Montoya and a woman, “Red” Ciera Lopez, and the three were driving around in various stolen vehicles – including a red Hyundai Sonata and a silver Hyundai Sonata – throughout the night.

Gonzales said they drove to the neighborhood near Casa Florida to dump the red Hyundai. That's where, he said, Lopez fired a gun in the air because she said “that house is filming us!” – referring to a security camera mounted on the home.

“He said that Daniel then got out of the silver Hyundai and began to fire an AK-47 toward the residence that Ciera had identified was filming them,” an officer wrote in the complaint. “Mr. Gonzales said that he then told them to get in, he then fled at a high rate of speed west on Casa Florida NW.”

Assistance requested

Detectives spent Thursday tracking down first Gonzales, and then Montoya, who had long since parted ways.

During his interview, Gonzales told them that after shooting at the home he picked up the stolen Kia from a northwest shopping mall, and Montoya and Lopez stayed in the silver Sonata.

Shortly before midnight, near Coors and Iliff NW, detectives spotted the silver Sonata. They followed it for several miles, to a southwest Albuquerque neighborhood, and saw Montoya exit the car before it drove off.

The detectives followed him, watching as he seemed to be talking on a cell phone. Then they turned on their lights and ordered him to the ground.

He refused, according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, Montoya continued to walk away and then began to run, stopping three times to fire multiple rounds from a handgun.

James Gonzales (MDC)

At some point, according to the complaint, he stopped and fired at least one time in the direction of officers who were setting themselves up nearby.

The officers said they were afraid they would be shot.

“Daniel then began walking east on Pilar Ave SW,” an officer wrote in the complaint. “An APD officer discharged his rifle and stopped Daniel's actions. Daniel was taken into custody.”

The complaint does not say which officer fired at Montoya.

“During a subsequent interview, Daniel admitted having a firearm, and was aware police were attempting to contact him, and firing the firearm,” an officer wrote in the complaint.

The incident sparked a massive police presence.

At one point APD's Southwest Area Command asked the department's other area commands to send more officers to the scene because they needed additional help.

The Multi Agency Task Force, made up of detectives from APD, the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office and the New Mexico State Police, is investigating.

“Investigators are processing an extensive crime scene, which is expected to take several hours,” Gallegos said, early Friday morning.

By midday Friday, the cul de sac was quiet. Two small bullet holes could be seen in the second story of the house where the woman had reported the shooting.

Second shooting

This is the second shooting by Albuquerque police this year.

On Jan. 6, at least one APD officer shot and killed 28-year-old Orlando Abeyta after police say he waved a gun in a dangerous fashion near an east Central bus stop.

It's also the second shooting by law enforcement this week.

On Tuesday, a New Mexico State Police officer shot and injured 26-year-old Roman Craig on Interstate 25 after officers said he pointed a gun at them.

An Albuquerque police officer stands near APD's Mobile Community Substation in Southwest Albuquerque where an officer involved shooting occurred overnight. (Roberto E. Rosales / Albuquerque Journal)

Members of APD’s Violent Crimes Unit and others investigate an officer involved shooting near 98th and Benavidez in Southwest Albuquerque early Friday morning. (Roberto E. Rosales / Albuquerque Journal)

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