Mother of teen killed in parking garage searches for answers

Mother of teen killed in parking garage searches for answers

It was a quiet fourth of July for 17-year-old Mariano Salazar's family.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It was a quiet Fourth of July for 17-year-old Mariano Salazar’s family. 

“We never thought anything would happen like this to him. It seemed harmless, I don’t know what else to say,” said Salazar’s mother.

Someone shot and killed the teen in a downtown Albuquerque parking garage at Gold and 2nd Street just about a week ago. 

Now, Salazar’s mother says she still can’t believe she lost her son to the metro’s gun violence. 

“I think it’s a huge issue. I mean, we came over here a couple of nights ago and there was a couple of teenagers arguing on the bottom of the floor. We did a see a teenager pull out a gun on another teenager, and it’s just horrible that these teens are getting a hold of these guns, it’s terrible,” Salazar’s mother said. 

The parking structure where Salazar was shot is close to where police chased down 19-year-old Steven Robles this past weekend in a different downtown parking structure. That was part of an APD operation targeting underage drinking and gun use downtown.  

Officers say Robles tried to drive away, but a spike strip stopped him and he got arrested. Police say they later found an AR-15 and a handgun in Robles’ car. 

In June, APD announced officers would patrol downtown more heavily this summer, using officers on horse back and proactive policing. All to target crimes like Salazar’s murder. 

While there aren’t many details about what led up to the shooting, his mother wants everyone to know the best parts of the son she lost as she searches for justice. 

“He was just a respectful little boy, he enjoyed smiling. If people were having a bad day or just sad, he would be the one trying to make jokes, make everybody happy, make everybody laugh. I do hope and pray that we do find justice, that they do find what happened to Mariano because right now it’s just a guessing game, and I’m left with no answers.”

There have been no arrests yet in Salazar’s murder. As for Robles, the 19-year-old arrested over the weekend, he’s facing aggravated fleeing and evading. 

Teens and guns is one of, if not the top priority for local law enforcement and prosecutors. 

Lawmakers are heading back to Santa Fe this month to have a public safety special session. But this problem isn’t on the agenda. 

While the agenda isn’t set in stone, we know the focus will really be on criminal competency. So the soonest we would see a legislative effort on teens is in next year’s 60-day session.