ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Bernalillo County DA is speaking out on the pretrial detention process after a judge released a suspected murderer. He’s accused of having gang ties and gunning down a man in downtown Albuquerque on a crowded weekend night.

In 2020, cell phone video captured a chaotic scene on the corner of Fifth Street and Central Ave. when police responded to a man who was shot just outside of the KiMo Theatre. At the time, Steve Vatoseow who owns Lindy’s Diner, said, “Downtown on Friday and Saturday nights it does get a little bit rowdy. You know there are a lot of bars down here. There’s young college-aged kids and it happens.”

The incident didn’t shock people. But what is surprising people is that three years later the Albuquerque Police Department arrested 46-year-old Patrick Alvarado for the murder. But judge Jennifer Wernersback later released him and told him to avoid guns, gang members, and to keep a job despite the DA’s motion to keep him behind bars as a danger to the community. “When we file a pre-trial detention we make our arguments in the courtroom and we stand behind those arguments in the courtroom however a judge is going to make a decision, whatever decision they make we respect and we’ll move forward,” said District Attorney Sam Bregman. 

According to the criminal complaint, on the night of the killing, Alvarado claimed the shooting was in self-defense. But once the case was taken over by a new investigator this year – the detective compared Alvarado’s story to surveillance video.

APD says the video evidence contradicted Alvarado’s story. They also discovered Alvarado was a Bandido, and the victim, Phillip Quintel, was a member of a rival biker gang. Bregman continued, “We have a problem with the overall pre-trial detention process that’s not to single out any particular judge that’s to talk about the process in itself.” If Alvarado violates the conditions of his release on pretrial services he can be put back in jail.

KRQE reached out to APD to ask if the first detectives on the case checked the surveillance video three years ago and if so, why they didn’t realize his self-defense claim was bogus. The department declined to comment on this case.