Teenager accused of firing a gun outside of Coronado Mall takes plea deal

Why teen accused of firing a gun near Coronado Mall will only serve 1 year

Our legal expert explained why a teenager accused of firing a gun outside of Coronado Mall will only spend one year in juvenile custody after taking a plea deal.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The 15-year-old boy charged with firing a gun outside of Coronado Center on Black Friday entered a plea deal Tuesday afternoon. Isaiah Montoya admitted to shooting at an occupied dwelling.

Surveillance video shows Montoya chasing another teen through the mall with a loaded gun in his waistband.

The video shows the other teen trying to entice Montoya to come back inside seconds before Montoya shoots the gun outside of the mall.

Montoya fled, ditching the gun in the bushes. That gunshot caused hundreds of Black Friday shoppers to panic, running for cover. The teen turned himself in a few days later.

As part of the plea deal, Montoya will be in CYFD custody for a year and has to continue his schooling.

In court Tuesday, Judge Alma Roberson made it clear if Montoya doesn’t participate in the treatment program and continue his education, he can be detained for another six months.

Montoya was originally facing seven charges, but this plea deal brings it down to just one.

“This was the most serious charge clearly the most evident charge clearly the one that scared everybody to death and that was shooting a firearm outside of the mall on one of the business days of the year,” said Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman. 

People may wonder if the crime was so serious, why is Montoya only spending a year in juvenile custody as part of the deal?

“Through that the criminal code or juvenile criminal code is this notion of treatment, and rehabilitation that plays a big role in that process. So we don’t want to just punish the juveniles. We want to also do what we can to help rehabilitate these children,” said KOB 4 legal expert Ahmad Assed.

Assed also says more charges, even if Montoya was charged as an adult, wouldn’t necessarily mean more time. 

“The idea of the counts really doesn’t make much of a difference. For example, if he pled guilty to two or three counts in the petition, I’m not sure that that would drive the exposure, any different than what he received today,” said Assed. 

Bregman says in the end, the most important part of this deal is there is quick and assured justice.

“This individual turned himself in two days after the shooting. He is going to be committed if you will for the next year and that is swift and sure justice, and he has to suffer the consequences of his actions, and he is,” said Bregman.