Deadly double-shooting in Doña Ana shakes small neighborhood

Crime

The shooting happened around 5:30 am Tuesday morning in the 5300 block of Cristo Rey Street. The amount of crime is causing part of the community to feel less safe at home.

Erica Eller and her family planned on cooling off in the pool on Tuesday. Those plans quickly changed when she received a text from her sister with the message:

“Hey be careful there was a guy screaming and running but I didn’t stop because I got scared,” the text said.

Before she knew there was a double deadly shooting at the end of her street, a stranger approached her doorstep.

“I heard him banging on the door screaming ‘Help me, help me, I need help’,” Eller said.

She had found herself face to face with a gunman. According to Eller, the gunman told her, “I just shot somebody. You need to call the police. I need to hide can I come in.”

Eller chose not to let the gunman in because she had kids inside the home. To prove he wasn’t a threat, the man gave up his gun.

“He literally dismantled it and placed it on the table to show me that he wasn’t a threat. I felt a little more content in helping him there,” Eller said.

Investigators later identified 21-year-old Syerra Benavidez and 21-year-old Justin Barela as the two shot dead. Doña Ana Sheriffs say Benavidez and Barela may have started the altercation.

The incident occurred near a white car in front of a family’s home. “You never expect to come outside and find somebody laying on the ground. No one likes to live somewhere they feel like is an unsafe environment. It just makes your home not really feel like home,” neighbor Justin McClarin said. Investigators confirmed the third person in the vehicle was taken in for questioning.

The investigation remains open.

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