ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Police say a man wrestled an employee’s purse away from her in a Taco Bell parking lot around noon Saturday. The suspect then ran across the street and right into the path of two men who were determined to stop his getaway.
The incident happened at the Taco Bell near Eubank and Copper. APD says 20-year-old Christopher Martinez threw the victim to the ground and stole her purse. Isaac Russ was across the street at work.
Russ said, “I saw people running from Taco Bell over to my parking lot, which is Bob’s Burgers, and the lady yelled out that he had stolen her purse from her and for me to stop him.”
The suspect kept running. Russ and the victim got into his car to chase him. But Russ says the man opened fire.
“When he turned the corner, he had fired some shots,” said Russ.
When another man heard the commotion, he went outside too and ran right into Russ and the victim.
He said, “She was yelling, ‘Somebody got my purse, somebody got my purse.’”
A neighbor says he got his first glance of the suspect when he came around the side of a trailer and made a terrifying threat.
He said, “He turned around, he was walking that way. Turned around and faced her and said, ‘You’d better back up or I’m gonna cap you,’ then he pulled his gun out, cocked it, then shot up in the air.”
“If I had been closer up on him I might have been shot,” said Russ.
“It was scary, it was really scary. I felt bad for the lady,” said the neighbor.
A few minutes later, APD later caught up with that suspect. According to a criminal complaint, Martinez told friends after the crime that he did something stupid. Now he’s facing several charges including robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Those good Samaritans are contemplating how close they came to tragedy.
“I’m like, oh you know what, I don’t want to be a hero but I’m tired of this neighborhood getting ripped off from everybody,” said the neighbor.
The gun, police say, Martinez fired off was found in a yard in that neighborhood. Just a few days ago, a warrant had been issued for Martinez’s arrest after he failed to show up to court for driving without a license or insurance.
The victim was not seriously hurt and a witness says officers did get her purse back.