Lapel camera footage from the Rio Rancho Police Department shows a cooperative Matthew Chavez, 23, as he was arrested for the murder of Jordan Gallegos, 21, Feb. 5 in the Premiere 14 Cinema parking lot.
The footage was released to the Observer March 15 in four clips totaling approximately two hours, and the staff has been going through the videos, condensing them into one 10-minute video.
Initial video shows officers arriving at the home of Chavez’s sister after a 911 call was made. Officers talk with her and her significant other, trying to get more details of what happened when Chavez came to the house. (The Observer has chosen not to show them in the edited video to help them maintain privacy).
While much of the information collected was already discussed in the previously released 911 audio, they did say members of the household tried unsuccessfully to wrestle Chavez’s gun from him before he left the house.
They then begin tracking his location on the sister’s phone.
As police tracked him along Paseo del Norte, the sister said that Chavez said Gallegos was in the car and that “she was gone.” They did not see her in the car.
Officers then ask if they knew what type of gun Chavez had. “It’s a small one,” said the male who called 911. “It’s smaller than a nine.”
A call then comes in from Chavez’s mother, who said she asked him about taking Gallegos to the hospital and he told her she was dead. “He kept saying, ‘They told him to do it; they told him to do it,’” she said, adding that she told him to put the gun in the trunk and get it out of his hands. “Maybe he’ll get the help he needs now.”
Officers then discuss trying to call Chavez on the sister’s phone to try to get him to turn himself in rather than track him.
“I did something bad,” he says when he answers. He agrees to return to the sister’s house.
“Are you hurt?” the officer asks.
“No, I’m fine. I don’t want to be a baby,” Chavez says. He tells the officer no one else is with him and agrees to return to Rio Rancho from Albuquerque.
“I have my gun. What should I do with it?” Chavez asks. The officer tells him to not touch it and put his hands on the steering wheel when he gets there. The officer then tells Chavez to call his sister when he gets close.
Outside, officers work on a strategy for apprehending Chavez when another recommends meeting Chavez in a nonresidential area. They agree to reach back out to Chavez to see if he can meet them at the movie theater parking lot instead. They then get his phone number from the sister to make contact on the police line.
The sister gives the officer the number, adding, “He has mental health issues.”
The officer then updates the family with the new plan and calls Chavez. Audio of that conversation, released in early March, details the new meeting place, which Chavez agrees to. During this conversation, Chavez tells the officer that someone is in the backseat and that they don’t need an ambulance because they are “gone.”
The officer stays on the line with Chavez until he arrives at the theater. Several camera angles show officers giving him instructions on how to get out of the car and where to place his hands. He is then cuffed and placed in a cruiser.
Police shout at the car, warning any person still in there to make their presence known. After several warnings, police surround the vehicle and open it up. A blanket is pulled out of the backseat, revealing Gallegos’ body. (The Observer also opted not to show this footage in the edited content out of respect for the victim’s family).
“That’s where we’re at right now. We’re done. Don’t touch anything else,” one officer says when they discover the body. “It appears we have a female in the backseat, GSW to her head,” he calls in.
“We have a victim in the backseat, GSW to the head. It appears we’ve got a murder,” he then tells the officer who handcuffed Chavez and placed him in a cruiser.
Officers then continue to search and process evidence from the vehicle and tape off the area.
Another officer notes Chavez’s cooperation. “He was compliant at least, very compliant,” he says.
Another officer can be heard saying the gun looks like a Ruger.
A member from Rio Ranch Fire and Rescue can be seen checking the body at one point. “No signs of life,” one says to the RRFR member, noting it’s been about two hours since the call came in. A voice can be heard asking if the couple had any children together.
The officer on the video then says they’re working on putting the pieces together. “We don’t even know if it happened in Rio yet,” he says.
Police then speculate that the murder occurred inside the vehicle based on damage to it. “It looks like the scene is in here,” one officer says.
In another video, an officer takes Chavez out from the cruiser and takes photographs of him and proceeds to swab his hands and feet for evidence and then returns him to the cruiser. Again, Chavez cooperates with all instructions given to him during the process.
She is then given instructions on taking Chavez in: “We do not put him in a cell and just leave him alone. We have to monitor him the entire time because what we don’t want to have happen is he goes and does something to himself or something crazy after that.”