A man peacefully surrendered to the Rio Rancho Police Department Sunday morning in a homicide case, shutting down the parking lot area of Premiere Cinemas.
Matthew Chavez, 23, of Rio Rancho, has been charged in the murder of his girlfriend, Jordan Gallegos, 21.
Chavez was arrested Sunday in the parking lot of the Premiere 14 Cinema after turning himself in to Rio Rancho Police.
The investigation started when a resident called at 4:13 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, asking for officer assistance. Chavez had shown up at the home of his sister and brother-in-law making statements he had shot his girlfriend, later identified as Gallegos. His mother had also called Chavez’s sister and dad, saying Chavez had told her he killed his girlfriend and she was telling him to turn himself in.
Before officers arrived at the sister’s house, Chavez left Rio Rancho in a white Buick Verano.
Chavez’s sister turned on cellphone tracking data, according to the arrest warrant affidavit, allowing police to track Chavez’s movement as he drove around Albuquerque, and they contacted Chavez by phone. The document states Chavez told police no one else was with him and that he did not need an ambulance “nor did the person who was with him because he believed they were already gone.”
He agreed to drive back to Rio Rancho, parked in the theater parking lot and surrendered without incident. Officers found the body of Gallegos, covered with blankets, in the backseat of the car. Police ruled it an obvious death due to the pooling of blood in and next to the vehicle.
A black handgun was also found in the passenger seat area of the car, the affidavit states, and Chavez’s clothes and hands appeared to be stained with blood.
“We are heartbroken by the tragic murder of Jordan Gallegos,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller tweeted Monday evening. “Jordan was dedicated to helping young people through her work as a city employee, positively impacting our community every day. We are keeping her family and friends in our hearts during this time.”
“Our family member, Jordan Marae Gallegos was tragically and senselessly taken from us on Sunday, February 5, 2023, at the young age of 21,” reads a GoFundMe account set up to raise money for Gallegos’ funeral. “She was a loving, kindhearted and extremely talented beautiful young woman. She will be missed by all of us that knew and loved her.”
Chavez, a 2018 Rio Rancho High School graduate, is a rapper that goes by the name of Vez. According to a 2017 Las Cruces Sun-News article, he signed with record label P4P Entertainment at the age of 17. He was featured as a member of the group Da Ivy League in a 2021 short film “Wrldwide” that was streamed millions of times across various platforms, according to Albuquerque Journal archives, even catching the attention of producers of “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”
That film touched on heavy topics such as school shootings, mental health, sexual assault, police brutality, domestic violence and substance abuse. “One thing we wanted to be at the forefront was showing the warning signs to all of this,” said Efrain Colindres, the group’s manager, at the time. “Everybody is dealing with their own battle and we have to recognize that.”
Chavez has been booked into the Sandoval County Detention Center on the murder charge. Documentation from his pretrial services public safety assessment shows no prior felonies or violent convictions and recommends he be released on his own recognizance.