A Las Vegas, New Mexico, man who broke into a Taos bank in 2018 following a grand mal seizure was arrested Sunday (Nov. 8) on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend and her grandfather in his hometown.
New Mexico State Police agents say Alejandro Alirez, 23, used a handgun to fatally shoot 33-year-old Cristal Cervantes and Victor Cervantes, 89, at 409 Peggy Lane in Las Vegas on Sunday. Alirez then allegedly turned the weapon on responding San Miguel County Sheriff's deputies, striking one of their patrol units before state agents coerced him into surrendering without further incident.
Alirez has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon and one count of shooting at a building.
Authorities say Alirez livestreamed Cristal Cervantes' murder and have obtained a search warrant to acquire the video from the social media outlet where it was broadcast before being taken down.
According to a criminal complaint filed in San Miguel Magistrate Court this week, Alirez told agents that he believed his girlfriend was allowing people to enter the residence to molest him in his sleep. He said he believed "there were other children being molested and he needed to save them." His intention, he said, was to knock out his girlfriend and assault her grandfather.
Alirez's public Facebook page contains a series of erratic posts that range from Bible verses to threats of violence. On Sunday, he wrote, "So the fbis molestic everyone's kids kill your family members."
His mother, Angela Sanchez, contacted the Taos News in April 2018 after Alirez was accused of breaking into the Centinel Bank main branch in Taos. She said Alirez suffered brain damage following a grand mal seizure that put him into a coma in 2017.
Taos Police officers who arrested Alirez, who was then 20, said the burglar's unusual behavior made it clear he was no bank robber.
Instead, surveillance footage obtained from within the bank showed Alirez wandering around the building and eating muffins from the bank's kitchen. When the officers arrived, Alirez fended them off using a fire extinguisher and at one point armed himself with cutlery, forcing an officer to use a taser to take him down.
After Alirez woke up from a coma in January 2017, Sanchez said he took his sister's car in Las Vegas and fled without explanation.
A month later, she learned that Alirez had been arrested in Pueblo, Colorado, for breaking into a branch of Colorado Bank & Trust. A report from Pueblo Police stated that Alirez called 911 from inside the bank the next morning to say that he didn't know what he was doing there.
Alirez spent the next six months inside the Pueblo county jail before a court psychiatrist found him incompetent. A defense attorney later convinced the state to drop the case due mental health problems he exhibited in and out of the courtroom. Meanwhile, Sanchez tried to persuade the Colorado court to provide further mental health assessments for Alirez, but said she was denied.
After Alirez returned to his home in Las Vegas, Sanchez said his behavior continued to take wild turns. "He wouldn't eat or drink anything," Sanchez said in 2018, "we would have to force him. He would just stare into space and go on long walks by himself."
One evening, she said Alirez went for a walk and didn't return. The next time she saw him was when he appeared in a news headline for breaking into Centinel Bank that April.
The Taos Magistrate Court Clerk's Office says they no longer have a record of the case. At the time, Sanchez said she had scheduled her son for an appointment at Neurology of Santa Fe to assess his mental health and seek treatment for behavioral problems that were plain to her, but had not been diagnosed at that time.
Judge Christian Montaño set a $2,000,000 cash bond in the homicide case filed this week. If Alirez were to be released at any point during the case, he would be required to wear a GPS unit and be placed on house arrest, the judge ruled.
An initial version of this story stated that a judge had ordered Alirez's release. Alirez remains held in detention on a $2,000,000 cash bond.