Local family sues Albuquerque police, claims mistakes led to double homicide

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – APD and some New Mexico property managers are taking heat for some of the recent killings in the metro. Attorneys filed two lawsuits this week claiming mistakes and failures led to a double homicide in September.

The lawsuits center around John Paul Ballejos, who has a list of violent offenses against him dating back to 2016. Most recently he was charged with two homicides stemming from a September incident at a southwest Albuquerque apartment complex.

The lawsuit against APD claims those two victims could still be alive, if it weren’t for the string of investigative mistakes.

“It’s always extremely difficult to have a case like this where you see multiple areas where this could’ve been prevented,” said David Adams, a partner at Parnall and Adams Law, one of the law offices on the lawsuits.

Going back to Memorial Day, investigators found Ballejos’ uncle and his girlfriend dead in their Albuquerque home.

The filed lawsuit claims the girlfriend’s son “immediately advised APD that John Paul Ballejos was the murderer.”  It alleges APD “failed to interview, interrogate, detain, or surveil Ballejos for his involvement in their murders.”

“No matter what job you have or what type of business you own no matter what type of service you have for the state or city of new mexico we all have responsibility to do the best job we can especially when it impacts people’s life,” said Adams. 

Fast-forward to July 11, when Ballejos’ downstairs neighbor called police when he allegedly shot into her apartment. The lawsuit claims APD’s only investigative step in that case was knocking on Ballejos’ door.

“I feel like these are the types of cases that sometimes fly under the radar, no one pays attention to them, multiple people end up dead,” said Adams. “Any time this kind of thing happens it definitely you know shocks the system because we certainly should have a higher expectation of what we can expect from individuals investigating serious crimes– especially involving the most vulnerable parts of our community.”

Less than two months after that shooting, Ballejos struck the same apartment again. He’s accused of killing the woman’s brother and aunt. The family is claiming a violation of the New Mexico civil rights act, among other violations.

“My hope is that all these cases change systemic problems when it comes to law enforcement responding to violent crime and when it comes to people who own businesses and run businesses,” said Adams.

The other lawsuit, filed in Santa Fe county against multiple property managers, claims they knew about the potential danger Ballejos posed to the victims.

A representative from APD says their legal department is aware of the lawsuit, and they will respond at the appropriate time in court.