ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department put an entire neighborhood on lockdown for nine hours while SWAT teams tried to get a woman out of her home who was accused of shooting at her neighbors. It turns out, the suspect had already left.
Now the search is on for Jessica Castillo, while neighbors are talking about what it was like to be caught in the middle of it.
Several neighbors told KRQE News 13 Wednesday that the situation felt like they were being held captive in their own homes Tuesday night because of the standoff. Neighbors say it doesn’t make it any better hearing that the suspect wasn’t there.
“Wow look at.. that’s pretty sad,” said Leticia Gallardo, a neighbor who was looking at the damaged home Wednesday.
Neighbors were able to see the damage first hand on Wednesday, as APD SWAT teams had cleared the scene at the corner of 59th Street and Churchill SW, near Central Ave.
Police spent more than nine hours Tuesday night trying to get Castillo to surrender.
“Actually firing a weapon at the neighbors,” said Albuquerque Police Department spokesman and Officer Tanner Tixier during a Tuesday interview about the situation.
Police say Castillo was on drugs and capped off an argument by firing shots at three neighbors. Witnesses told police that Castillo ran inside her home.
“She’s currently not responding to any of our attempts to make contact with her,” said Tixier at the standoff on Tuesday.
Castillo’s lack of communication is what triggered the SWAT response, according to police. It also ended up keeping neighbors like Abby Reyes trapped in their homes until one in the morning.
“There’s a guy jumping the fence and it was a cop and he had his rifle,” said Reyes.
Leticia Gallardo had APD sharpshooters on her roof waiting for Castillo who was also said to be threatening police officers on scene.
“I went outside to get something from the vehicle and I got yelled at had to get inside,” said Gallardo.
Castillo has a rap sheet, as well. In 2007, criminal complaints say Castillo tried to run over a man in an Albuquerque Allsups parking lot, then spit on the deputies who arrested her.
In 2009, she sold crack to an undercover cop.
“This past month there’s been a lot of activity of police there,” said Gallardo.
In the end, APD says Castillo wasn’t even there.
“It was hard because we clean offices,” said Reyes.
Reyes missed work overnight because she couldn’t leave her home. Leticia Gallardo’s kids missed school.
“It was pretty disappointing,” Leticia Gallardo. “It was very very hard and then to know that she wasn’t even in there.”
While neighbors say it was a big surprise that Castillo wasn’t even home, most say they understand why police locked down the area.
“I think they did good, they were careful and everything,” said Reyes.
At this point, police haven’t said which neighbors Castillo was fighting with or what the argument was about that triggered this whole thing. KRQE News 13 also tried to ask APD Wednesday why they didn’t know that Castillo wasn’t inside the home, but we didn’t hear back.