ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A terrifying carjacking was caught on surveillance in the Northeast Heights.
Now, neighbors believe the new video could show the car tied to the crime. The Gazolas family left southeast Albuquerque several years ago after their home was broken into.
They relocated to the heights near Menaul and Tramway thinking it was safer. Now, they are finding themselves victims of crime again.
What began as a typical Friday morning for 17-year-old Sandia High School student Shawn Gazolas quickly turned life-threatening.
“I was just heading to school, and then he had a gun right at my chest,” said Shawn.
Surveillance video shows a masked gunman wearing a bulletproof vest and hockey jersey demanding Shawn’s car keys.
The teen hands them over, then runs inside and alerts his dad who runs after the gunman. However, he didn’t see his face since the car’s windows were still covered in frost.
“When I ran to the car and grabbed the door handle it was locked,” John, Shawn’s dad, said. “He kept going down and turned.”
“It is hard for me to relax now in my own home,” Shawn said. “When I go out now, I can’t help but look back and forth.”
While the scene was terrifying for the family, neighbors aren’t surprised by the crime.
“In this neighborhood, we have had crime,” Steven McHenry said.
The houses on both sides of McHenry’s have been burglarized in the past year.
Across the street, Linda Mitchell caught a man breaking into a car in her driveway in February 2018.
“We are just helpless,” Mitchell said. “We are being preyed upon by people that make this a way of life.”
Mitchell said her home surveillance caught a car driving toward the Gazolas household Friday morning, then appearing in the Gazolas’s doorbell footage just minutes before the robbery. Neighbors suspect that’s the car that dropped off the criminal.
Shawn and his dad hope whoever seems to be targeting the neighborhood are caught and held responsible.
“Hurting people like this and hurting kids like me trying to be a normal person… It is a terrible thing to do,” Shawn said.
Mitchell said she is handing her video over to detectives.
The Albuquerque Police Department tells KRQE News 13 their robbery unit is investigating and that Shawn did the right thing by giving up the keys to avoid getting hurt.
Shawn’s dad said the vehicle was a family car with sentimental value. It’s a gray 2007 Toyota Camry with license place NJM801.
Anyone with information is asked to call APD