APD arrests suspect in Saturday homicide

Elise Kaplan, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
·2 min read

May 4—ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Homicide detectives have charged a man with murder after arresting him less than a mile from where witnesses said they saw him shoot and kill a man on Saturday.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, around 6:20 p.m. Albuquerque Police Department officers were called to a shooting at 2nd NW and the Interstate 40 frontage road.

Detectives interviewed witnesses at the nearby Coronado Park who said they saw a man, later identified as 51-year-old Manuel Moreno, in an argument with two men. They said they saw him shoot one of the men and one of the witnesses who recorded the encounter showed detectives the video.

APD has tentatively identified the victim from a Mexican identification card he had with him, but a spokesman said they have not been able to reach his next of kin.

The witnesses had told police that they saw Moreno change his shirt and he was found about three-quarters of a mile away.

According to the complaint, when Moreno was interviewed by detectives he admitted to killing the man. He said the man and another — "a large Native American male" — had stolen his wallet earlier in the week.

"Today when Manuel located his wallet at Coronado Park, all of his identification was missing and he saw (the man) and the Native American male laughing and pointing at him," the detective wrote in the complaint. "Manuel then left the park and obtained a firearm, a semi-automatic small caliber handgun and returned to Coronado Park to confront (the man) and the large Native American male."

Moreno told detectives he fired a shot and the two men ran toward the interstate overpass. He said he pursued them and when the man popped up on the north side of the fence he shot him in the chest, according to the complaint.

He said he then ran back to Coronado Park, changed his shirt and ran away, hiding the gun.

Moreno was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Saturday. It's unclear if he has an attorney.

Prosecutors have asked that he be held in jail pending trial. They cited the serious nature of the crime as well as the fact that Moreno had violated probation in an earlier case.

"The defendant's prior conviction is for attempting to sexually assault a child, which further demonstrates that he has no care for the well-being of others," prosecutors wrote. "He also violated his probation on that conviction, and failed to appear in court and failed to abide by release conditions in other cases. This proves that he will not abide by any court orders and would not abide by any release conditions imposed here."