Harsh lives collide in street corner shooting

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Albuquerque Police Department officers take Isaiah Luna into custody after a homeless man was shot and killed at the intersection of Central and 98th Sunday morning. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal)

David Hart, 56, has spent much of his time in West Central near 98th Street.

Police reports show he was frequently questioned as a witness to violence in the region – a stabbing in 2017, a brawl in 2018, a car shooting in which no one was hit in 2019 .

The staff at the local smokehouse said he was a nice guy and they often saw him standing on the median asking for money.

This is where he was and what he was doing on Sunday morning when he was shot in the head. Hart died at the scene.

Albuquerque police arrested Isaiah Luna, 21, and charged him with murder. According to a criminal complaint filed in the Metropolitan Court, Luna’s mother took him from her home to the scene after he told her and his girlfriend that he had shot “a man without shelter who had asked him for money “.

Detectives say smokehouse security camera video shows a white Jeep Commander stopping at the left lane light on Central, waiting to turn south on 98th Street. Then a man, later identified as Hart, approached the driver’s side window.

“The homeless man walks past the white Jeep Commander and it looks like the driver rolls down the window and says something to the homeless man,” the detective wrote in the complaint. “The homeless man turns to the white Jeep and walks to the window. The homeless man appears to attempt to pull away a few times and is brought back by the jeep driver’s conversation. The driver of the white Jeep then shoots the homeless man. “

Prosecutors have requested that Luna be detained pending trial and a judge will render a ruling at a hearing on Friday. Luna’s mother did not respond to the Journal’s requests for comment.

His public defender, Jeff Rein, said he has yet to have a chance to meet Luna, so it is too early for him to comment on the matter.

When Luna’s mother was interviewed, she told detectives that her son suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, intermittent explosive disorder and ADHD and that he can be very violent and “doesn’t cannot be brought back “. She pointed to a scar above her left eye which she said was from where Luna hit her once when he “came out”.

Luna’s mother said she owned the white Jeep Commander but let him drive it.

Crime scene investigators are searching the commander of the white Jeep Luna was driving after a man was shot and killed in the center-west on Sunday morning. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal)

“Climbing behavior”

In the spring of 2018, Luna’s mother filed a petition with the Los Lunas District Court to be appointed her temporary guardian. According to online archives, a hearing was held the day before she turned 18, but the documents were sealed, so it is not known what the outcome was.

Police reports paint a picture of a tumultuous life, as police officers were frequently called in over brawls between Luna and her younger brother, mother or friends and neighbors. Sometimes he was the perpetrator, but other times he was the victim or a witness.

In December 2018, agents were called due to “Isaiah’s growing behaviors” after Luna thought someone had stolen $ 5 from her.

In April 2019, the police were called again because – although there was no physical altercation – “Mr. Luna had increased his aggression with his mother. At that point, when Luna’s mother was interviewed, she said she made arrangements for him to move into an apartment.

“Luna’s mother told the police that she loved and wanted to help him, but because he was not taking his medication, unspecified, it was just too much to deal with at home,” an officer wrote. in an incident report. “She had only two weeks before he left the house and then the fighting could end.”

Luna’s time at the apartment wasn’t any easier. Between early August and late September 2019, he was interviewed twice as a neighbor who overheard altercations leading to two separate homicides at the Arioso apartments in Montgomery.

As recently as August, the ShotSpotter gun detection system alerted police to shots fired at Luna’s mother’s house, southwest of Albuquerque. When the police arrived, she told them that she had bought “the 25 caliber Titan two weeks ago (two weeks ago) from a friend because of the crime problems on her street”.

She had taken it to West Mesa to test it but it had malfunctioned so she got some new ammo and asked Luna to try it out in her backyard. He shot a soccer ball on the ground.

The weapon does not appear to be the same one used to kill Hart a month and a half later.

Officers installed a screen around the body of David Hart, who demanded money from West Central when he was fatally shot. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal)

Witness to violence

A police spokesperson said detectives had not found Hart’s next of kin. The Journal couldn’t find her family either and instead combed through the files and spoke to people at the scene to try to get a picture of her later years.

Hart appears to have been homeless and to stay in the area around 98th and Center for a while. He had been interrogated on several occasions as a witness to a violent crime in the region.

In November 2017, police were called to Church’s Chicken on 98 because a homeless man was stabbed in the stomach and was lying near a dumpster, according to a police report. As rescue workers were working on the victim, Hart – who has been described as “also homeless and sober” – approached an officer and said he did not see the fight but had saw the man walking down the alley with a tall black man who has a camp behind the building.

The victim survived and was taken to hospital. The suspect was questioned and said the victim and another man had in fact attacked him and he retaliated.

The case was closed pending further leads.

Nearly 11 months later, officers questioned Hart after witnessing a scuffle in an area off Central, east of 98th Street, where people set up mobile homes. In that case, a man brandished a gun and threatened to take back a motorhome that a woman said her father had bought six months earlier.

And in June 2019, officers questioned Hart after someone in a Chevrolet Malibu repeatedly fired a “shotgun with a brown handle and butt” at three men walking near a Dollar Tree on 98.

“Hart said he heard shotgun bullets hitting leaves on trees above him,” one officer wrote in a police report. “Hart went behind a tree and stayed there until the vehicle left. Hart said the Malibu may have had a turquoise trim but didn’t get the numbers.

Shell casings were located nearby, but no suspects or victims were identified.

By Monday afternoon, all traces of Sunday’s shooting and investigation had disappeared from the intersection.

Instead, Antoinette Benavidez was there in the same place, asking for money with her 9 year old dog Bambi. She said she knew Hart from the area and would say “hello” to him.

But she also noticed that he sometimes got angry with the drivers.

“He was basically a good guy,” she said. “He spent many years on the streets. It’s hard and it happens to you, I know he had a bad attitude.

Benavidez said she arrived at the intersection on Sunday shortly after the shooting.

“It’s scary,” she said. “You never know who you’re dealing with in this car.”


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