ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Four teens are charged for the drive-by shooting death of a 5-year-old girl in southwest Albuquerque on Aug. 13, according to police. Police said 15-year-old Alexander Barraza Venzor, 16-year-old Yahir Carballo, 17-year-old Jose Luis Ramirez, and 15-year-old Alan Ramirez, fired at a home on the 2700 block of Paseo del Canto Drive SW, near Blake and Unser, where Galilea Samaniego was sleeping with her two sisters.
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Detectives arrested Barraza Venzor on an existing probation violation and Carballo Friday afternoon. Detectives are searching for two brothers – Jose Luis Ramirez and Alan Ramirez. All four teens are charged with an open count of murder, conspiracy, shooting at a dwelling or occupied building, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle.
Investigators learned Samaniego was hit in the head by a bullet. When an Albuquerque Police Department officer got to the scene, they said Samaniego was unconscious but still breathing. She was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital and later died, according to court documents.
“We hate seeing cases like this as a department and as a community,” said Cecily Barker, Deputy Chief for Investigative Bureau at APD.
Detectives determined through investigation that the teens were occupants in two, stolen Kia Soul vehicles that entered the Vista Del Sol mobile home park around 5:48 a.m. on Aug. 13. Several gunshots were fired from at least one of the vehicles toward a trailer located at 2718 Paseo del Canto Dr. S.W.
Police said the elderly homeowner lived in the trailer with her teen-age grandson. She was babysitting Samaniego, her two sisters and a fourth child when the shooting occurred. The teen-age grandson who lived at the trailer had been in an ongoing altercation with Jose Luis Ramirez that started when they were in middle school, police said. The dispute over a girl escalated in recent months, allegedly resulting in drive-by shootings between the two teens and several friends, according to police.
“We determined early on that a teenager who lived at that residence was the target of the shooting we do not believe that this shooting was random,” said Barker.
Another drive-by shooting took place on 1801 Delgado Dr. SW shortly after the deadly shooting on Paseo del Canto Drive SW. Two adults and a 4-year-old were in the home when it was shot at. Police said this was the second drive-by the family experienced in recent weeks.
“What we’re seeing in this incident, is a group of juveniles that have been arguing with each other, shooting at each other, and we’ve been able to tie cases to several incidents that involve the same juveniles,” said Barker.
An officer reviewed video from the scene and saw two KIA Soul vehicles driving by the home and shooting at the home, according to court documents. Detectives learned through video surveillance that a red Dodge Nitro, that belonged to Barraza Venzor, was used to pick up the teens who were in the stolen Kia Soul vehicles.
“As chief mentioned a few weeks ago KIA and Hyundai are commonly targeted by auto theives so he immediately asked us to look into what KIA’s had been stolen and what KIA’s were still not recovered,” said Barker.
Police determined the drive-by shootings on Paseo del Canto Drive SW and the home at 1801 Delgado Dr. were likely related because of family relations. The teen living at Paseo del Canto Drive SW later told investigators that he was friends with two teens associated with the home on Delgado Drive, and he said they were being targeted because of his dispute with Jose Luis Ramirez, according to police.
Investigators learned that the bullet casing from the scene of the shooting on Paseo del Canto Drive SW matched a shooting from November 2022 involving several teens, including Jose Luis Ramirez and Alan Ramirez. APD said it is working with the ATF to investigate the guns, ammunition and bullet casings used in these shootings.
A fundraiser has been arranged for Samaniego’s burial services. See it here.