Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
The past several days have been a roller coaster for Dolores Barreras and her husband.
On Sunday morning, their grandson, Raymond Barreras III, called to say his father – their son, Raymond Barreras Jr. – was shooting at him. They made phone calls and went to the family’s home to try and find out what was happening, but all was quiet.
Then, they learned 50-year-old Barreras Jr. was dead from a gunshot wound to the head at a Circle K gas station on 98th, just north of Central. And his wife – 47-year-old Melissa Berreras – had been shot to death in the couple’s home near Arenal and Unser SW.
Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman, said Barreras Jr. is the main suspect in his wife’s death.
He said detectives learned that Barreras Jr. had tracked down his son and his son’s girlfriend to a car they were sleeping in at the gas station, and shot at them, too.
Detectives initially believed Barreras III had shot at his father as he drove away, and killed him. Early Monday morning, he was booked into the county jail and charged with murder.
But, by the afternoon, more medical evidence and video footage of the incident had emerged and prosecutors prepared to dismiss the case, saying it needed further investigation.
Gallegos said surveillance video suggests Barreras Jr. shot himself and his death is now being classified as suspicious. He said the video had not been available Sunday.
“Preliminary autopsy results also suggest a possible suicide,” Gallegos wrote in an email. “However, investigators are completing search warrants and evaluating forensic evidence before reaching a conclusion in the deaths of Raymond Barreras Jr. and Melissa Barreras.”
Barreras III has been released from jail.
On Tuesday afternoon, Dolores Barreras told the Journal she and her husband – Raymond Barreras Sr. – were preparing to bring their grandson home and try to get him help. She said her grandson, who had attended Catholic school and had been a good kid, was struggling with addiction to fentanyl.
She said that, although the reality of what happened turned out to be horrifying, she is at least grateful that her grandson did not kill both of his parents.
“I thought my grandson had done it. I thought how am I going to live, you know, with my son and my daughter-in-law gone, and my grandson in prison …,” Dolores Barreras said. “But, anyway, thank the Lord, he didn’t, he didn’t.”
According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, Barreras III had told police he didn’t get along with his father, and his father would yell at his mother on the phone. He expressed concern for his mother’s well-being “due to the fact that his father had been using drugs and alcohol.”
That concern prompted police to check the couple’s house, which is where they found Melissa Barreras dead.
Dolores Barreras said her son was a bus driver with the city until 2020, and she thought he and his wife had a good relationship, so she was shocked to learn he is suspected of killing her. She said he had just been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety.
“They had so many friends,” Dolores Barreras said. “Yesterday, I had a house full of my son’s friends that grew up down the street – 50-year-old men as old as my son who hung around together forever. They were all crying here in disbelief. It’s just horrible, horrible, and I don’t know how we’re going to deal with this, but we’re going to have to stay strong.”