Friday night vigil to honor 22-year-old intentionally hit with car

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DEVON MARTINEZ GRAD_431241

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Friends and family of 22-year-old Devon Martinez said they don’t want people to remember him as a victim, instead someone with a big heart who loved to give to others.

“He was the most beautiful person in the whole world and we were all so lucky and fortunate to have him,” Martinez’s mother, Melanie Cotter, said.

Martinez died Tuesday. Cotter said she remembers everything about her son.

“He was into skateboarding, he loved to ride bikes, he loved to camp and he loved to go fishing with his brothers,” she said.

If there’s one thing she’d like to forget, it’s the memory of police knocking at her front door at 6 a.m., Tuesday morning, to deliver news no mom wants to hear.

“It was a female detective, a police officer and my other son Daxton,” she said. “When they didn’t have Devon with them, I knew he was gone because he and Daxton were together that night.”

Early Tuesday, police units blocked Martha Street near Juan Tabo and I-40. Martinez’s friend, Phillip Leal, told police a fight broke out at his house between Martinez and 21-year-old Joseph Perea, who is dating Leal’s cousin.

Leal said they kicked Perea out and told him to leave. According to the criminal complaint, he left but not before breaking a window and cutting up a screen door. That’s when Leal said everyone went outside.

Leal told police Perea sped off in his car but came back and ran over Martinez. According to APD, Martinez was pinned up against Perea’s car and a black Ford Focus. Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene; but that image isn’t one friends and family want others to remember about him.

“He would give me the shirt off his back,” Leal said. “He was my best friend. I’m just trying to block things out from that night.”

Cotter added, “He loved life. He just always had a smile on his face even if things got rough, he always gave everyone anything he could.”

Family and friends are holding a candlelight vigil, Friday night at 6:30 p.m. down Martha Street. A GoFundMe page has been set up for Martinez to help with funeral expenses.

Perea is now charged with murder.

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