Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Man arrested in SE ABQ robbery turned homicide

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Detectives have arrested a man in a robbery turned homicide during a gun deal in May in Southeast Albuquerque.

Rodolfo Villalobos Lopez (MDC)

Rodolfo Villalobos Lopez, 18, is charged with an open count of murder and armed robbery in the May 20 death of 21-year-old Rene Castillo.

He was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Tuesday.

Janine Hernandez, Villalobos Lopez’s girlfriend, said police were rough with him during the arrest. She said Villalobos Lopez cannot walk after a car crash last year and needs a walker.

Hernandez had no comment on the allegations against him.

Alma Ramirez, Castillo’s mother, said she is looking forward to the court hearings.

She said her son was planning to get his GED and attend college. He hadn’t decided what was next.

Ramirez said some people believed Castillo, the youngest of three siblings, was not a good person because of the friends he grew up with.

“I think sometimes people get prejudiced with the deceased, based on where they lived,” she said. “I’m not saying he’s perfect. Nobody is, but he was one of a kind. He had one of the best hearts. I know he’s in heaven.”

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Ramirez added, “Nobody deserves to be murdered, anyway.”

Police responded around 2 pm to a shooting in the 700 block of Dan SE and two friends took Castillo to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court. The friends who dropped him off told the police they were in a car at the Dennis Chavez Community Center when someone shot at them and Castillo returned fire.

Police said the car had multiple bullet holes in it, two flat tires and officers found a gun inside. Officers were told by multiple people that a man who went by “Lencho” on Facebook shot at the trio after arranging to buy a gun from Castillo’s friend.

Police linked the Facebook account for “Lencho” to Villalobos Lopez and his phone records placed him at the scene when the shooting happened, according to the complaint. Detectives found Facebook messages where another man asked Villalobos Lopez if he wants to “hit a lick,” slang for robbery, and included a screenshot of messages with Castillo’s friend.

Police said they found Villalobos Lopez messaged Castillo’s friend asking to buy two guns for $1,300. The last messages sent showed “Lencho” had arrived at the community center minutes before the shooting.

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