ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Schools were on lockdown, neighbors hid in their homes. It was a scary four hours as cops combed a neighborhood searching for a suspected killer who was wounded and desperate.
SWAT teams, cops and deputies went from yard to yard, house to house with assault rifles drawn, searching for the suspected killer.
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies said they found the suspect, Trinidad Alex Gallegos, around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, hiding in a stranger’s closet.
Parts of the neighborhood in Taylor Ranch were still blocked off after 10:00 p.m. and even though deputies said they’ve got their suspect, they said there’s still lots of evidence to collect, including the suspect’s gun.
Investigators said Gallegos is now in the hospital after a shootout and hours searching for him.
“The good news is a homicide suspect was captured in the process of this,” said Chief Deputy, Greg Rees.
Bernalillo County deputies were staking out a home on Hattiesburg Northwest about half mile from Paseo and Golf Course, waiting for Gallegos.
Investigators said he showed up Wednesday afternoon, then shot at deputies. Rees said Gallegos was injured in the process, possibly shot, but got away.
A quiet Taylor Ranch community, became the scene of a manhunt.
“The fact that there might be somebody out there that could cause you harm is very scary,” said Theresa Saiz, whose child was on lockdown at Lyndon B. Johnson Middle School.
“I was concerned that he would be in the area, I didn’t know what to do,” said Rebecca Schwarz.
Lyndon B. Johnson Middle School, Marie Hughes and Chamiza Elementary School were locked down. Crowds of concerned parents gathered, waiting to know their kids were safe.
Roads were closed, and no one was allowed to go in or out of neighborhoods.
Tactical teams went house to house, searching yards and sheds with guns drawn, looking for Gallegos.
“It’s very obvious he was desperate, he was trying to get into a house to evade law enforcement,” said Rees.
And deputies said he did just that. Rees said Gallegos made his way into at least two homes, one which was occupied, and tried to break into four.
A blood trail eventually led the SWAT team to Gallegos.
“The Sheriff’s Department SWAT team was clearing a back yard, observed blood outside of a windowsill, the window was open, deputies opened the windowsill saw a large amount of blood,” said Rees.
SWAT found Gallegos hiding in a closet. No one was home at the time.
Deputies and Homeland Security were searching for Gallegos in connection to the abduction and murder of 41-year-old Sergio Bickham. His body was found in May in a tunnel near I-40, just east of the Route 66 Casino.
According to police, Gallegos and a few buddies tazed Bickham at a gas station in Albuquerque and kidnapped him. Bickham was then shot to death.
One of the suspects told deputies that Bickham owed Gallegos $800 for meth. Chief Deputy Rees said Gallegos was transported to the hospital to be treated for injuries, but that he was able to walk out of the home Wednesday.
Court documents state Gallegos was arrested in this murder case back in late June, but he was only charged with kidnapping and aggravated battery at the time. He bonded out a few days later.
BCSO asked neighbors to be patient while some of those roads were blocked as investigators gathered evidence.
Trinidad Gallegos has a long criminal record. Online records show he’s been arrested again and again on car theft and drug charges. He’s also been behind bars for domestic violence, assault and armed robbery.
The Albuquerque Police Department and New Mexico State Police assisted with the search.