Updated: October 15, 2021 07:06 PM
Created: October 15, 2021 07:00 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Family members said 21-year-old Esteban Mercado was killed on the mesa near Route 66 Casino in late September.
Estaban's teenage sister, Alejandra Mercado, recounted that day to KOB 4 – saying he was shot and killed in front of her and then she was kidnapped.
"I feel like the only reason I was able to get away was because of him," Alejandra said. "Because he was already my angel."
Bernalillo County deputies have named two suspects in that shooting. One of the suspects, 22-year-old Erick Garcia, is now behind bars.
Alejandra said she was with her brother shooting guns on the mesa. They ran into two men who reportedly tried to sell her brother a gun. According to documents, the men used drugs together, exchanged numbers and came back when Esteban's car broke down.
"One of them just pulled out a gun and he just shot my brother four times in the chest," Alejandra said.
BCSO deputies used those phone numbers to track down the two suspects. They later confirmed through Facebook Messenger the two men had been planning to rob someone, using the ruse of selling a gun. Documents said Garcia admitted to the shooting, but denied that it was planned.
Now a family is still grieving the unexpected loss of a loved one.
"I want people to know how happy, and what a big heart he had, and how giving he was," Alejandra said. "He was always there to help people even when he wasn't in his best moments."
Deputies are still searching for the second suspect.
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