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Gun Deal in Mesa Turns into Target Practice Resulting in Felony Charges


POSTED 09/19/2023 @ 2:30PM

Joe Montoya, 19, of Albuquerque

West Mesa Albuquerque -

On the night of September 18, 2023, in the vicinity of Avalon and 110th Street, Bernalillo County deputies responded to multiple distress calls reporting shots fired in the area. This ultimately led to a high-speed chase and the arrest of one individual, Joe Montoya, 19, from Albuquerque.

At approximately 9:30 PM, as residents reported gunfire, the situation took a concerning turn when a vehicle on the scene informed officers that individuals were recklessly firing from a Razor. Shortly thereafter, another resident flagged down a law enforcement officer, indicating that the gunfire was coming from the vicinity of Avalon and 110th, near Herrera Buses.

BCSO deputies approached the area, where they observed what appeared to be muzzle flashes from firearms. Two vehicles, one a dark-colored SUV and the other a sedan, had individuals around them. The deputies activated their scene lights, illuminating the surroundings, but the vehicles quickly sped away

The pursuit continued onto Volcano Road, with law enforcement officers engaging their red and blue strobe lights in an attempt to signal the fleeing vehicles to stop. However, the situation remained tense as the vehicles intermittently turned their lights off and on while navigating through debris-filled areas to avoid being stopped by the deputies.

The pursuit ultimately split as the road divided. The SUV headed north while the sedan came to a halt, with its rear tires spinning in the mud. Deputies quickly moved in and conducted a high-risk stop. Montoya, the driver of the sedan, and a young child, aged between 7 and 10, exited the vehicle.

During the stop, officers discovered an AR magazine in Joe Montoya's possession, containing ammunition compatible with a 5.56 / .223 or .300 blackout rifle. Additionally, an AR upper was found on the rear driver's side seat. While the child was checked for weapons, they were not detained in handcuffs and were placed in a law enforcement vehicle for safety.

Montoya was read his Miranda rights and admitted to being involved in the shooting incident in the mesa. He claimed to have the AR upper and was attempting to purchase a lower from a friend. Montoya cited fear and panic as the reasons for fleeing from law enforcement, stating that he knew he was in the wrong. He initially mistook the pursuing officer for an angry neighbor but realized they were law enforcement when the red and blue lights were activated. Montoya allowed deputies to inspect the gun part but denied the search of his vehicle.

An AR-15 has two parts that can be sold, one is an upper with the barrel system and the lower is the fire control group, magazine well, and pistol grip. The upper is the barrel, forend, bolt carrier group, charging handle, and any AR accessories you want to mount on rails, such as a scope

Upon returning to the area where the shooting had occurred, deputies discovered numerous spent bullet casings, including .221r, 300 blackout, 9mm, and .40 caliber. This shooting took place near the intersection of 110th and Volcano, in close proximity to both occupied homes and the Herrera Busses facility, which operates 24 hours a day.

Montoya faces multiple charges, including resisting, obstructing, and evading law enforcement due to his attempts to flee. He is also charged with negligent use of a deadly weapon for recklessly firing firearms dangerously close to occupied residences and businesses. Given the presence of a young child in the vehicle during these actions, Montoya faces additional charges related to contributing to the delinquency of a minor and child abuse.

The vehicle Montoya was driving has been sealed and towed pending a search warrant, as it is believed to contain further evidence related to the incident. It is unclear if Montoya knew he would need a FFL transfer form from the gun sale.

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