Three teens are facing multiple charges, including murder, in relation to the January homicides of two brothers in southwest Albuquerque.
One of the suspects, Mario Lange, 17, was arrested Feb. 1 in the Rivers Edge neighborhood of Rio Rancho — putting the neighborhood on lockdown — on unrelated charges and has been in custody at the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center. He was rebooked Tuesday on charges in the double homicide of Matthew Lopez, 15, and Gabriel Lopez, 14.
On Monday, task force officers with the United States Marshal Service located Marissa Lopez, 17, who attempted to escape from custody while being treated at UNM Hospital and has since been booked into the juvenile detention center. Querida Lovato, 17, turned herself in to the detention center Wednesday.
The charges stem from the Jan. 27 murders of the brothers in the 200 block of Atrisco Vista Blvd. SW. Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene just before 11 p.m. after reports of a shooting. The victims had multiple gunshot wounds, and the 15-year-old Matthew was pronounced dead at the scene. The 14-year-old Gabriel was transported to University of New Mexico Hospital in critical condition and removed from life support Jan. 31.
The suspects fled the scene in a dark four-door sedan. During the investigation, homicide detectives were able to identify the three suspects and arrest warrants were granted Monday. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office said another man was involved in the double homicide but it’s unclear if that person has been identified.
Lange and Lopez were already suspected in separate drive-by shootings in the weeks leading up to the double homicide, the Journal reported. In Lange’s case, he pleaded guilty March 17 to shooting up his ex-girlfriend’s home.
All three suspects face two counts of murder and single counts of conspiracy and tampering with evidence. Lopez faces an additional charge of escape from custody.
The Journal’s Matthew Reisen reported the following from the court complaint:
“The moral depravity of these individuals is alarming, as they have no remorse for their actions nor any regard for human life,” a BCSO detective investigating the brothers’ deaths wrote in a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
An online obituary for the Lopez brothers, beneath photos of their smiling faces, said they “will always be remembered for their kind hearts, bright smiles and their undeniable love for basketball.”
A woman left a message on the obituary page, saying she had lost her grandson to gun violence in 2019 and is devastated “to this day.” She wrote, “I can just imagine the grief that has been bestowed upon your family.”
An aunt of the brothers wrote, “You both are gonna be truly missed. I love you both. Watch over all of us we will see you when we get there.”
It was around 10:50 p.m. Jan. 27 when Gabriel Lopez called 911, saying he had been shot, according to the complaint. A dispatcher could hear other voices in the background and a gunshot before Lopez fell silent and the phone hung up.
Deputies responded to the Tierra West Estates mobile home park at 224 Atrisco Vista SW, south of Central. They found Matthew Lopez shot to death and Gabriel Lopez fatally injured at a car near the leasing office.
Surveillance video showed Matthew Lopez approach a Kia sedan before being shot multiple times and the car fled but quickly returned, according to the complaint. A man and woman — believed to be Lange and Marissa Lopez — walked up to Matthew Lopez’s body with a flashlight.
Deputies said video showed the man noticed Gabriel Lopez inside the car and shot him before the pair rummaged through the vehicle and left. Bullet casings found near Matthew Lopez’s body potentially matched .45 caliber casings from a Jan. 2 drive-by where Lange allegedly shot up his ex-girlfriend’s home.
Court records show the ex-girlfriend’s family got a restraining order against Lange, saying they had “been living a nightmare” after having their lives threatened and wore bulletproof vests.
On Feb. 1, deputies went to Lange’s parents home in Rio Rancho and he tried to flee in an SUV but crashed and was detained, according to the complaint. Deputies searched the home and found a recently fired .45 caliber handgun with bullets similar to the casings at the homicide scene.
Deputies said a bullet casing found inside the home was a potential match for a quintuple shooting in July 2022 that left 19-year-old Tristan Maes dead. That case has not been solved.
After his arrest, Lange told deputies he, Lovato, a woman later identified as Marissa Lopez and an unidentified man had been involved in the Lopez brothers’ deaths, according to the complaint. He said Marissa Lopez wanted to set the brothers up “for revenge” because she believed one had stolen a gun from her friend and they used Lovato’s car.
Deputies said Lange told them Lopez lured the brothers by asking to buy marijuana and she had fled to Colorado after the shooting. Deputies found Instagram messages in which Lange and Lopez shared articles of the double homicide and wondered if Gabriel Lopez, who died days later, had seen their faces.
“Damn that (expletive) waited to die,” Lange wrote with a crying emoji, according to the complaint.
Lange then shared an article that the family had raised $8,400 from a GoFundMe for funeral costs and mentioned robbing them.
Deputies said Lopez wrote, “They gon(sic) be having a candle lighting” and “everyone might just get hit” before Lange responded that he had two automatic assault rifles.
Cellphone data for Lange, Lopez and Lovato showed all three were in the area of the mobile home park when the brothers were fatally shot.