ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Police arrested the suspect in the murder of a grandfather in a road rage incident, shot in front of his grandson. The criminal complaint filed Wednesday is revealing more about what led up to the incident, while suspect Joshua Butler’s co-workers said they’re surprised to hear the news.
KRQE News 13 was there when police walked Butler into APD headquarters for questioning on Wednesday. He didn’t answer any reporter questions but had one thing to say. “Happy Thanksgiving,” he said into the camera.
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Police said witnesses saw a gray Honda minivan, driven by Nelson Gallegos, in what appeared to be a road rage incident with a silver Chevy pick-up truck. At one point, the minivan stops in the road and Gallegos gets out. Witnesses say Gallegos threw a piece of drywall and hit the driver’s side of the silver pick-up. That’s when a gunshot was heard and Gallegos fell to the ground. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
The complaint states detectives received a tip after a Crime Stoppers bulletin was issued on October 13 that Joshua Butler was the driver of the truck. Detectives located his residence and found a 2006 Chevy Silverado extended cab truck at the home. A search of the home resulted in four firearms being found. The complaint states a white substance resembling sheetrock residue was found on the front driver’s side tire of the truck.
Cell phone records obtained by the Albuquerque Police Department show Butler’s cell phone was in the area of the shooting when it occurred. KRQE News 13 went to Butler’s workplace at Lobo Internet near Coronado Center. His coworkers say they’re shocked to hear he’s named as the murder suspect and say that he was still working on Wednesday.
They said it’s telling that Butler wasn’t originally charged back when he was first questioned by police.
Gallegos’ family said on Wednesday that they’re grateful APD got an arrest warrant for the suspect. Last month, Gallegos’ wife had a message for the then-unnamed suspect at a vigil. “You’re a monster and you’re a coward, whoever did this to my husband,” said Jeannie.
The complaint says Butler reportedly told the detective he wasn’t driving in the area that day, even though it’s his usual route to work, and that he instead took I-40. APD says they arrested Butler at his home on Wednesday. He’s charged with murder and tampering with evidence. Before this, his only charge was for drug possession.