The Albuquerque Police Department investigates after they say two people were killed at the Mesa Ridge Apartments on Atrisco and Sequoia NW. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal)
FORT MORGAN, CO — May 24: Police block off part of the parking lot at Walmart in Fort Morgan to investigate a shooting that took place in the morning of May 24, 2018. (Photo by Brandon Boles/Fort Morgan Times)
Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
Early Thursday morning officers called to a West Side apartment complex found a mother and her teenage daughter had been killed in their home on the third floor.
Then, hours later and more than 500 miles away, authorities say the man detectives are considering a “person of interest” in the double homicide was shot and critically injured in a Walmart parking lot by the sheriff and undersheriff of Morgan County, Colo.
Officer Simon Drobik, a spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department, said detectives are not ready to call 31-year-old Dustin Brian Montano a suspect or charge him because they haven’t had a chance to talk with him.
As of Thursday evening, Montano was in critical condition at the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colo., according to a spokesman for the Fort Morgan Police Department.
Drobik did not know the relationship between Montano and the victims, Deborah Martinez, 53, and her daughter Irisa Montano, 17, or what the motive for the killings was. He said it’s an ongoing investigation.
Family members did not respond to messages from the Journal.
Drobik said police were called to the Mesa Ridge Apartments on Atrisco, north of Sequoia NW, around 3:30 a.m. He said when they got there they found Martinez and Montano had been killed. It is unclear what time they died.
He would not say how they died but said detectives were investigating their deaths as homicides.
Drobik said detectives quickly identified a person of interest who they suspected might be headed for Colorado.
Sgt. Kevin Campbell, a spokesman for the Fort Morgan Police Department, said the Albuquerque Police Department confirmed to them that they were looking for Montano in regards to the double homicide. He said they were told he was armed and dangerous and suicidal.
Campbell said shortly before 8 a.m. the Morgan County Sheriff’s department spotted Montano in the parking lot of a Walmart off Interstate 76 in Fort Morgan.
Montano, who is from the town of Sterling, about 45 miles away, was in a vehicle that was determined to be stolen from New Mexico, Campbell said. It is unclear from whom he allegedly stole that vehicle.
“After the male suspect exited the Walmart store he was attempting to enter his vehicle in the parking lot when he was confronted by deputies from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office,” Campbell wrote in a news release. “The suspect made a threatening gesture and was shot by the deputies.”
Montano was flown to the hospital for treatment.
Police haven’t said how many times he was shot or what the “threatening gesture” was. They haven’t said if he was armed.
Campbell said no law enforcement officers were injured.
He said sheriff Jim Crone and undersheriff Dave Martin had been the ones to fire shots. Crone has been sheriff since he was elected in 1999, and Martin has been with the department since 1986.
The shooting is being investigated by the Morgan County Major Crimes Task Force, which is made up of law enforcement throughout the county.
Back in Albuquerque, investigators remained at the Mesa Ridge Apartments for much of the day. Crime scene investigators could be seen combing through Martinez’ and Irisa Montano’s apartment into the afternoon.
Shane Bryant, 17, said he was hanging out in the courtyard near their building in the middle of the night when he heard the commotion.
“I heard yelling over there,” he said. “I heard things breaking and two ladies screaming for help.”
Bryant said after the screaming stopped, he saw a man walk down the stairs and out of the building with a duffel bag under each arm.
“He was alone,” he said. “He didn’t care. He was walking down the stairs, kept walking and walking, hopped in the car and left.”
Bryant said the man drove away in a red Volkswagen Jetta. Photos of the scene of the shooting in Colorado shows what looks like a Jetta surrounded by cruisers.