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Investigators identify woman, man shot and killed in village of Doa Ana

The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office says a man admitted to shooting and killing two people inside his vehicle early Tuesday morning in the village of Doña Ana.

The 21-year-old shooter, who has not been identified by investigators, was detained for questioning after claiming he acted in self-defense. The victims were identified by the sheriff’s office as 21-year-old Syerra Benavidez and 21-year-old Justin Barela.

The shooter told investigators he received a phone call from Benavidez, a friend who told him she “wanted to hang out.” The man picked up Benavidez near the Pic Quik on Del Rey Boulevard at approximately 5 a.m. He said Benavidez was accompanied by Barela.

Investigators said the three reportedly drove to Doña Ana “to pick up someone else.”

When they got to the dead end at Cristo Rey, Benavidez allegedly pulled out a knife and demanded the man turn over his cell phone, keys to the car, and his wallet. Benavidez also warned the man that Barela, riding in the backseat of the car, had a gun.

The man, who told investigators he had a gun in his vehicle, said he was in fear for his life and shot both Barela and Benavidez.

Investigators blocked off the 5300 block of Cristo Rey Street for hours on Tuesday

Photos from the scene show a woman dead inside a vehicle and another person dead lying on the ground directly behind the vehicle.

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