ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An arrest has been made in the killing of long-time John Brooks butcher, Jesse Lovato. He was killed in early December of last year in an apparent road rage incident.
According to the criminal complaint, the suspect, Tristan Salais, first identified himself to responding APD officers as a witness to the crash. On Tuesday, he is facing charges for Lovato’s murder. Court records show just after 5:00 a.m. on December 3, Albuquerque police, Bernalillo County deputies, and AFR personnel responded to the crash involving 50-year-old Lovato who had worked as a butcher for John Brooks for more than 30 years and was driving to work when he crashed into a wall after crossing the bridge on Montano near Rio Grande.
When first responders arrived at the scene, they saw Lovato had been shot in the neck. Police say when they first arrived on scene, they found Tristan Salais who claimed to have witnessed the crash. He told police he also saw another vehicle driving aggressively in what he thought was a road rage incident.
Police say they narrowed down the exact time of the shooting from a nearby Shot Spotter and when they looked at surveillance video from nearby businesses and traffic cameras, the only car they found near Lovato’s during the shooting was Salais’.
Police say they also found video of Salais driving aggressively toward Lovato and speeding up to catch him. Police also noted that Salais fled from the crash scene after they asked him to stick around to make a statement, going through a police barricade. Salais is also facing charges of aggravated battery for an incident in October where he allegedly threatened a woman with a gun over money.