Deputies identified the man shot to death by two others who then tried to kidnap his 16-year-old sister on the mesa west of Albuquerque earlier this month.
Esteban Mercado-Rangel, 21, died from multiple gunshot wounds on Sept. 25. His sister told deputies the shooters forced her into a car but she was able to escape soon after.
Jayme Fuller, a spokeswoman for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, said no arrests have been made in the case.
A GoFundMe account set up for Mercado-Rangel’s funeral expenses said he was a father who “had the biggest heart.”
“Esteban was our ray of sunshine,” the message read. “It is still a huge shock to all of us. He loved his girls more than anything and it breaks us that he will not get to see them grow up.”
According to a BCSO incident report:
Deputies responded around 8 p.m. to the shooting that happened on the mesa near Lost Horizon Road along Interstate 40, 15 miles west of the city. Albuquerque police, who had spent several hours trying to find the crime scene, led deputies to Mercado-Rangel’s body.
He had been shot multiple times and was pronounced dead at the scene. Mercado-Rangel’s sister told deputies the pair had been shooting guns on the mesa when two men showed up and joined them. The sister said, afterward, her brother’s vehicle wouldn’t start and the men helped jump-start it.
She told deputies one of the men asked her brother if he wanted to buy a gun before shooting him three times in the chest. The sister said the men forced her into her brother’s vehicle and drove off.
She told deputies she jumped out of the vehicle between 98th and Unser and ran to get help.