ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A pair of suspects are now in jail accused of shooting up an upscale Albuquerque neighborhood not once but twice.
It took several weeks, but police caught up with the suspects after one of them started bragging about the shooting. The suspects said they shot up the Four Hills neighborhood on a dare, according to police.
The shootings happened about three weeks apart.
On Sept. 8 six friends had gathered at a home on Warm Sands Driver and were playing computer games in the dining room when bullets started flying around 3 a.m.
"It sounded like fire crackers were going off," recalled one victim, who asked that his name not be revealed. "We thought someone had you know, bad practical joke, but it was the bullets coming through the window.
"We figured it out around when I got hit in the leg."
The 23-year-old was shot in the leg by a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle. His friend was hit in the elbow as eight bullets penetrated the dining room walls and windows.
"The bullet is still in my leg, it was a pretty clean hole, didn't hit bone, didn't hit an artery, just went right into the muscle," the man said. He and his family are thankful it wasn't worse.
Three weeks later three other locations in the Four Hills area were shot at. That night a tip to Drunk Busters described a black SUV with a gun hanging out the window.
Police tracked the vehicle to Branden Barela, 20, and also learned Barela was allegedly bragging about "shooting up" the Four Hills area.
"Not knowing who or why the house was shot at has been a little tense," explained the shooting victim. He said his family has been uneasy since the mysterious shootout.
Albuquerque Police Department officers said when Barela and alleged accomplice, Elijah Otero, 18, were arrested Tuesday night, they confessed.
According to a criminal complaint, Barela said they were drunk each night of the shootings and dared one another to shoot the gun. This past weekend, Barela said they had left a University of New Mexico tailgating party drunk and that they shot at least half of an extended 35-round magazine as they drove through the Four Hills neighborhood.
Otero claims they were taking turns shooting at street signs and told police Barela did most of the shooting. Both young men are now facing felony charges.
"It gives me a bit of closure you know, I hope they realize that you know you got to have a little bit of empathy when you're having fun...if you can call that fun," explained the young man who was shot in the leg.
Barela's attorney challenged the assault and battery charges in court Wednesday saying Barela wasn't the shooter. However, the judge took no action, and the charges stick.
Both Barela and Otero are charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, shooting at a dwelling, and shooting at or from a motor vehicle. Barela's bond was set at $25,000 while Otero's bond was set at $50,000.
Neither of the men arrested have a violent criminal history. Barela has a DWI conviction from 2011.
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