Arrest warrant was issued for man killed in Dona Ana shooting


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Just a week before a man was shot in the Village of Dona Ana on Tuesday, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Justin Barela, 21, along with Syerra Benavidez, 21, was shot and killed at about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning in the 5300 block of Cristo Rey.

Police say the man who shot them alleged they pulled a knife and gun on him in a robbery attempt. He claims he shot them in self-defense.

New Mexico court documents show Barela had an arrest warrant for a violation of his probation. 

The documents show he continuously failed to meet with his probation officer, hung around known drug dealers and tested positive for meth during a March 5 drug test. 

Court documents said he admitted to “eating” $10 worth of meth while in detention at the Dona Ana County Detention Center and also admitted to taking a “hit” of methamphetamine and heroin before a March 13 drug test. 

Documents also show on March 15, Barela was sentenced to probation following a case involving a stolen vehicle out of Deming last September. 

Police said in that case, Barela ran from Las Cruces Police Department officers during a traffic stop.

According to the investigation, he eventually crashed the vehicle and told officers he did not steal the car, someone else did. 

During a search of the vehicle, officers found two syringes with a brown substance residue in the vehicle, the documents state. 

He pleaded guilty to Resisting Arrest, Criminal Damage to Property and Failure to Yield. Seven other charges were dismissed as part of the plea.

Benavidez did not have any priors as an adult, according to court records.

At this time it is unknown if any charges will be filed in the deadly shooting. 

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