BELEN — An Albuquerque man is behind bars after firing shots at another motorist in Belen.
Officers were called out to near the north Interstate 25 exit at about 12:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 25, regarding an alleged road rage incident.
Belen Deputy Police Chief Jose Natividad said two vehicles were driving south on I-25 in the construction zone. The first motorist, a man driving a black Mustang, told officers the driver of the vehicle behind him, a green-colored sedan, had been excessively tail-gating him.
“(The victim) stated the green sedan struck him from the rear,” Natividad said.
The driver, identified as Xavier Mirabal, 24, of Albuquerque, then allegedly “clipped” him from the back. That’s when the victim and Mirabal pulled over to the side of the interstate.
“The driver of the Mustang waited in his vehicle and calls for help,” the deputy chief said. “As he’s waiting in his car, the victim notices the driver of the sedan getting out with a pistol in his hand.”
Natividad said Mirabal approached the driver’s side of the victim’s car, saying he had “ruined his car,” pointed the gun at him and demands he give him all his money. The victim replied that he didn’t have any cash.
“He told him if he wanted, they could drive to the ATM,” Natividad said. “Mirabal became agitated and shoots three times into the ground. He then starts walking back to his vehicle, and he shoots three more times, this time at the direction of the victim’s gas tank.”
Both the victim and Mirabal then drove off, with the victim, who was on the phone with dispatch, following the suspect.
“As they were driving southbound, the victim could see flashes from the gun,” Natividad said. “It looks as though Mirabal was driving and shooting at the victim.”
Natividad said the two motorists were driving at high speeds, and as Mirabal was making the “turn” on the 195 exit into Belen, he rolled his vehicle.
“The officers were already en route, and when they got there, (Mirabal) was trying to get out of the car,” Natividad said. “The officers helped him out of the vehicle and took him into custody.”
The deputy chief said before the officers had arrived, Mirabal had called 911 to report the rollover.
“He briefly advised the sergeant that there was a firearm — a Keltec — in his vehicle,” Natividad said.
Mirabal is charged with one count of aggravated assault with the intent to commit a violent felony, which is a third-degree felony.
The deputy chief said no one was injured during the incident, and there were three visible gunshot marks on the vehicle.
Mirabal was taken to the Valencia County Adult Detention Center, and was released on a $2,500 cash surety bond on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.