Arrest warrant filed for man charged in hit and run near Santa Fe school

·2 min read

Nov. 24—An arrest warrant has been filed against the man suspected of threatening a driver during a road rage incident Monday near Gonzales Community School.

Justin Isaac Barela of Santa Fe was charged with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a felon and a slew of traffic citations after another driver accused Barela of rear-ending him before threatening him with a gun, according to a criminal complaint filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court.

Santa Fe police responded to a call around 2:45 p.m. from a driver who said he had been hit on Placita de Oro. The caller told officers a man driving a gold Toyota Corolla, later identified as Barela, crashed into him, according to the complaint.

The caller said the Toyota had significant damage to its front end, including a flat front tire and smoke coming from the vehicle. They pulled into the parking lot of Gonzales Community School before Barela began to flee on foot across the street, the complaint said.

When the caller attempted to video record and follow Barela, he said Barela flashed a black pistol from his pocket and threatened to shoot him. That led the caller to immediately duck to the ground while Barela fled, according to the complaint.

Police were able to identify Barela, 38, as the suspected driver of the Toyota after the caller said he walked over to Barela's vehicle and noticed a cell phone ringing. When he answered it, a person on the other line said he was looking for a "Justin Barela," according to the complaint.

Police later showed the driver a photo lineup and the driver identified Barela from the photos as the man who threatened to shoot him.

Barela has a criminal history dating to 2004, when he was convicted of trafficking a controlled substance. He has at least five other active warrants for his arrest for failure to appear and failure to pay fines on previous cases, court records show.

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