Pair charged in 2019 death at West Side apartment


DeAndre Garcia, 14, received a guitar as a gift after a musician learned that the boy could not afford a guitar of his own and had to use one borrowed from his middle school teacher. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Detectives charged two men in the 2019 fatal shooting of a local guitar prodigy at an apartment on Albuquerque’s West Side.

Gilbert Salazar (MDC)

Rebecca Atkins, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman, said Gilbert Salazar, 19, and Jose Marquez, 24, are each charged with an open count of murder in the October 2019 death of 20-year-old DeAndre Garcia.

Garcia made local news at 13 when he was gifted a handcrafted Pimentel and Sons guitar during a concert. He spent the next several years composing music and traveling the world to play in competitions.

Jose Marquez (Wyandotte County Detention Center)

Salazar was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center. Marquez is behind bars at the Wyandotte County Detention Center in Kansas City, Kansas. It is unclear if either man has an attorney.

Salazar was identified as the prime suspect within a month of Garcia’s death but the case was left unsolved when the detective left the homicide unit, according to court records. It was reassigned in May 2021 to a new detective and police seized evidence tying Salazar to the shooting before Marquez confirmed their involvement.

The arrest was more than a year in the making.

In 2019, police responded around 4:30 p.m. to reports of a shooting at the Eagle Ranch Apartments, near Eagle Ranch and Paseo del Norte, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metro Court. Officers found Garcia on the floor of an apartment, dead from a gunshot wound to the chest.

The apartment door was full of bullet holes and the woman who owned the place told detectives her ex-boyfriend, Salazar, was responsible. The woman told police Salazar and another man had chased her from the parking lot and shot through the door, striking Garcia, after she slammed it.

The woman said Salazar had been threatening her for months and she filed “multiple police reports,” including when he showed up to her door with a gun and shot up her car, according to the complaint. She told police Salazar texted her two days before Garcia’s death threatening to kill her and police found a message from Salazar: “It’s war (expletive)” with a gun and exploding head emoji.

Police said detectives went to Valley High School in November 2019 to talk to Salazar but he ran from them after they seized his phone. The detective left the homicide unit soon after and another detective was handed the case in May 2021.

Police used new technology to unlock Salazar’s phone, tracking it to the scene of the shooting when Garcia was killed, according to the complaint. On Feb. 11, detectives traveled to Kansas to speak with Marquez and he told them he went with Salazar to the West Side apartment and they both shot through the front door.

He said they went into the apartment briefly and Garcia, who was covered in blood, handed Marquez his wallet. Marquez told police Salazar left the apartments without him, leaving him to hide in a culvert, and later laughed at him about the incident.

He told police he stopped talking with Salazar after that and moved back to Kansas in July 2020.


Source link