3 teens charged with killing 2 brothers in January
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Three 17-year-old suspects are now charged with killing two brothers, ages 14 and 15, earlier this year.
On Wednesday, Bernalillo County deputies revealed the victims’ names. They said 15-year-old Matthew Lopez and 14-year-old Gabriel Lopez were killed Jan. 27 at a southwest Albuquerque mobile home park on Atrisco Vista Boulevard.
Deputies said the suspects targeted the brothers by setting up a fake drug deal.
Mario Lange, Marissa Lopez and Querida Lovato, who are each 17 years old, are each facing two murder charges. They are being held in the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center. Lange was already in custody for another charge.
In court documents, deputies write that surveillance video from the leasing office shows the shootings.
Matthew Lopez walked up to a vehicle with four people inside and someone in that vehicle shot him multiple times.
Minutes later, that same vehicle returned. Two people got out and went to the Lopez brothers’ car, where Gabriel was still inside. Deputies said Lange then shot him. It’s not clear who shot Matthew.
Deputies said the two girls set up a fake drug buy to get revenge, claiming the victims stole a gun from one of their family members.
Through Instagram messages, deputies said Marissa Lopez and Lange discussed details of the homicide only investigators knew. Deputies wrote that the messages show no remorse for the victims.
The two allegedly discussed robbing the victims’ family of money from a GoFundMe page and shooting up the family’s candlelight vigil.
Deputies said the three suspects’ phones were in the area of the shooting at the time. They believe a fourth person was with the group, but they haven’t identified them.
Victims’ advocates reached out to the brothers’ parents afterward. Alicia Otero with the New Mexico Crusaders for Justice said the parents are devastated.
“It is unbearable to lose one child, but to lose two children, we just can’t fathom the idea,” Otero said.
She said, with all these young offenders, parents need to do better.
“These parents are not making their children stay home, and they’re out committing crimes. That’s what’s leading to the homicides. These parents are not having any accountability for their children,” Otero said.
She added that the Crusaders believe the laws are too lenient on people under the age of 18. They said they’re furious state lawmakers haven’t taken more action.
Lopez and Lange are expected to have their pretrial detention hearings Friday, April 7.