A 24-year-old man on probation for a 2020 house party shooting is accused of shooting and killing a man last August during a fight at an illegal street racing gathering on the West Side.
Isaiah Perez is charged with an open count of murder, possession of a firearm by a felon and conspiracy in the Aug. 8 death of 28-year-old Daniel Garcia.
Isaiah Perez (MDC)
Perez was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Friday night.
Authorities say Perez attacked Garcia after a race and Garcia tried to leave repeatedly before Perez and others, who were all armed, surrounded Garcia’s car and sprayed it with bullets.
It is unclear if the others involved in the incident will be charged. Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque police spokesman, said the investigation is ongoing.
At the time of the killing, Perez was serving out a five-year probation sentence after taking a plea deal offered by the District Attorney’s Office in a house party shooting.
Perez initially faced several felonies, including multiple counts of aggravated assault and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, after he and others opened fire on a home with dozens of people inside, injuring at least four.
During the investigation into Garcia’s death, the lead detective left the homicide unit and a new detective took over the case in February 2022, leading to the charges against Perez.
The fatal encounter began with a barrage of gunfire on a desolate stretch of road west of town.
Officers responded to the shooting at 100 Aerospace Parkway, near Double Eagle II Airport, around 12:41 am and found Garcia lying on the ground near his Mustang, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
Garcia had been shot twice with a 9mm and died at the scene. His car was riddled with bullet holes and police found several bullet casings on the roadway.
Two friends of Garcia’s told police they had come into town from Gallup to street race, according to court records. Both friends said Garcia won his race, angering Perez and others who had bet on the other car and began flashing guns.
Witnesses said Garcia and Perez got into back-to-back fights before Garcia tried to diffuse the situation by telling the group he was at the races to “have fun.”
Videos shared on social media showed Garcia try to leave multiple times before he is punched and drawn into another fight. Police said at one point the video shows someone put a pistol with a green laser sight to Garcia’s back.
Once the case was reassigned, the new detective spoke with a man who said he knew Perez and the others and watched the situation escalate. The man told police he called the race’s organizer urging him to do something and the person responded “I can’t stop them, they’ll shoot me, too.”
The man said Garcia was eventually able to drive off but Perez and the others followed him down the road, kicking his car and trying to pull him out of it, according to police. The man told a detective Garcia hit two of the men while trying to escape and “bullets started flying,” causing everyone to flee “en masse.”
Police said the man told them he saw Garcia stuck in traffic and trying to get people to move out of the way when a “second volley” of gunfire erupted, killing him. Another witness told police they watched a man jump onto Garcia’s car before he was shot at point-blank range.