Copyright © 2015 Albuquerque Journal
Last Sunday, during an all-night drinking session with his brother, 31-year-old Christopher Jaramillo started talking about how horrible his life had become. He grabbed a gun and shot himself in the head.
His brother, Cory Blankenship, picked up the phone, dialed 911, and let police know that Jaramillo had killed himself. He told them he was going to do the same thing.
And he did.
Jaramillo was transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where he later died.
Blankenship was pronounced dead at the scene. It was his 19th birthday.
A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s detective detailed what investigators learned about the Jan. 11 shootings in a search warrant filed in 2nd Judicial District Court.
A woman told police that she was drinking with the brothers inside Blankenship’s apartment at the Retreat at Candelaria complex on Jane Place NE, according to the warrant. She said two children, ages 2 and 4, were asleep when the shootings took place.
When medical workers moved Jaramillo’s body at the scene, they found a gun beneath him. Police found another firearm on a table in the apartment, the detective wrote in the search warrant.
Police have ruled the deaths suicides.
Chelsea Engel, who lives in the apartment beneath Blankenship, said a loud noise woke her up around 2:45 a.m. Sunday.
“I woke up, and immediately got up to call the cops, and as I was on the phone, I heard a lot of yelling from a guy,” she said. “While I was on the phone, the yelling stopped and I didn’t really hear anything else. But as soon as I got off the phone I heard a woman start screaming hysterically.”
Three days later, when Dezirae Price heard that Jaramillo – the father of her child – had killed himself, she started screaming too.
“I cried the hardest I have ever cried in my life,” she said. “I don’t want to believe he committed suicide. I’m not accepting that in my heart.”
Price, who now lives in Nevada, said she hadn’t talked to Jaramillo that week, but when she woke up Sunday morning, she saw that she missed several calls from Blankenship’s phone overnight. She called back that day but couldn’t reach either brother.
Price said Jaramillo had many close friends.
“Everybody loved him. He called everybody brother or sister,” she said.
Price said she met Jaramillo in Los Lunas in October 2012 and their relationship moved at lightning speed. They moved to Albuquerque in January, and shortly afterward Price discovered she was pregnant. Their family became Jaramillo’s whole world, she said.
Price lost her job, and in October she moved to Nevada to be with her mother, taking their then 1-year-old son with her.
“Chris would ask if he could come and visit his son,” Price said. And she said she wanted him to.
“I know he wanted to move up here,” she said. “He said things weren’t working out for him job-wise, and he wanted to start over.”
Jaramillo never got a job. And he never made it out to see her.
An obituary in Thursday’s Journal said both Jaramillo and Blankenship had two children each. It said both men were “loved beyond belief by their grandparents, several aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as many other friends and relatives.”
In an interview Friday, Santino Segura, the brothers’ cousin, said Blankenship told him he was going to pick him up Saturday evening, but he never arrived.
The next morning, Segura learned about the shootings.
“Cory was going through a hard time,” Segura said, but he didn’t show any warning signs. “Chris on the other hand (what I saw from Facebook) is he was depressed and angry.”
Even with more than a decade age gap between the brothers, Blankenship and Jaramillo were always very close, he said.
“Cory looked up to Chris so much,” Segura said. “Just the look my cousin would give him, even when Chris would just speak, he loved him.”
Price said she knew Jaramillo had been depressed but never imagined that either brother would commit suicide.
“I guess to see your older brother laying there – shot – that’s terrifying. That’s devastating. That’s everything in the book awful,” she said. “Maybe he didn’t know what to do, maybe he was just scared and didn’t know what to do.”