In-depth look at Albuquerque’s recent violent crime trend

[anvplayer video=”5133111″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In the last seven days multiple people have been shot and killed, others have been targeted but survived, and many more have been put in danger because of gun violence. 

This Sunday night KOB 4 is taking an in-depth look at a trend people have been seeing.

Amid a cluster of crimes last month here was the message from Albuquerque police, trying to comfort the community:

“Unless you’re involved in the narcotics trade or the gun trade, then you’re pretty safe.”

When we look at some of the victims of recent crimes we see a different narrative. In fact the victims of recent crimes have been neighbors, business owners, and bystanders who got into an argument with the wrong person who turned violent.

Last Friday, two people were found shot and killed in their own apartment on the West Side and police believe they were targeted by a former neighbor — John Paul Ballejos.

“So right after coming inside like seconds later we just heard a couple of gunshots and we heard a couple of people screaming,” said a neighbor.

Police say the shooter was holding a grudge against the victims for filing a complaint that got him evicted after he fired a gun into their apartment back in July.

“He was like a dad to me, he was my best friend he’s the best boss, and he had the best pizza in the world.”

On Tuesday, the owner of a local pizza parlor — Rosario Zito — was gunned down outside his southeast Albuquerque restaurant when a masked robber later identified as Sylvan Alcachupas came in and demanded cash.

Police say Zito pulled out his own gun to defend his employees and that’s when he was shot multiple times.

Just the day before on Monday, Bernalillo County investigators say a man was shot and killed for supposedly speeding through a South Valley neighborhood and one neighbor–Joseph Gonzales– confronted him about it.

“While on scene, Joseph made statements about the male driving at a high rate of speed. He made a statement about telling the male to slow down, resulting in a verbal argument,” said BCSO Deputy and spokesperson Felicia Maggard. 

That argument turned deadly when the victim ran away and Gonzales fired multiple rounds into his back, then called 911 on himself. But not all the crimes targeting everyday people turned deadl but are no less disturbing.

On Friday, multiple employees at Yeller Sub were attacked after they asked some homeless people to leave the area. The owner says everyone is OK, but one employee did get a black eye.

“It’s concerning with everything that happened this past week here on Montgomery, I just hope nobody gets hurt,” said Rosie Roerick owner of Yeller Sub. 

Then surveillance video from a Dunkin’ Donuts last Thursday when BCSO says a man came into the store around 10:30 a.m., walks up to the counter and flashes a gun at the workers. They hand him a paper bag with money inside and deputies say he left in a dark grey Saturn car. They are still looking for this suspect.

Also, last week a home security camera in northeast Albuquerque caught the moment a homeowner’s dog chased away a potential burglar. The owner says they were fast asleep and if it wasn’t for their dog, they may have never noticed they were in danger.

“It was our dog that woke us up. I’m guessing she must of heard him hop the fence so she jumped and growling and went to the windows,” said Carol, homeowner. 

Parents and students also got a scare this week when Del Norte High School went into lock down after five gunshots were heard just off campus.

“I was sitting around lunchtime I think the bell was going to ring and all of a sudden a student started running across the room or the courtyard saying ‘there is a shooter there is a shooter.’ My hearts pounding and racing and no one knows what was going on.”

Luckily no one was injured and students were allowed to go home at their normal time, but traffic around the school was closed down nearly all afternoon.

Now, all of those crimes happened in just the last week and all the victims were unsuspecting people. So that leads to the question, do you feel safe in Albuquerque? KOB 4 asked multiple people around town last week and many people gave the same answer.

“No. I don’t, no I don’t, not here anymore.”

“You know I do sometimes, but not always.”

“I don’t go out after dark. I do everything during the day, early in the morning. It’s just not safe.”

“I have plans of moving out.”

Naturally, the next question is what are we doing to make Albuquerque safer?  Many of the crimes mentioned were retail crimes, something both city and state leaders say the Legislature needs to step up and provide more funding to stop.

“We are right now doing it without the Legislature funding or partnering with us, and I’m pissed off about it,” said New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. 

“12 years later, can anybody show us the legislation that the Legislature has passed to help us combat retail crime? Very little, if any at all,” said APD Chief Harold Medina.  

Albuquerque State Rep. Marian Matthews says she plans on introducing a couple of crime bills in January to address retail crime and ensure GPS ankle monitors are tracked 24/7. But people will have to wait and see what actually passes in the Roundhouse in the next session.