A citizen of Mexico, Gael Rodriguez was 18 years old when he approached a woman, then 71, at the River Walk apartments in Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, New Mexico, United States on January 16, 2021. He asked for a cigarette and she said she did not have one.
“Then give me your car keys,” Rodriguez told the elderly woman so she tried to push him. She dropped her keys after he slashed her hand then he fled in her pickup truck.
Just before 5:00 p.m. that day, an Albuquerque Police Department officer responded to the scene and found the woman shaking and holding her bleeding left hand in a cloth. She was rushed to the hospital and the officer relayed a description of her truck and Rodriguez to the police departments of Rio Rancho and Corrales, which are both in Sandoval County, New Mexico.
After causing a crash in Corrales, Rodriguez left the truck, hid in a feed house, jumped several fences to evade police. When he was cornered, he held a pair of gardening shears to his throat and officers had to spend 20 minutes convincing him to drop the gardening shears.
Rodriguez was arrested and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque. On March 12, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted him.
On March 23, 2022, Rodriguez pleaded guilty in federal court to an information charging him with carjacking. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
Albuquerque was founded by Francisco Cuervo y Valdes in 1706 as Alburquerque and incorporated in 1891 as Albuquerque. It was named for Francisco Fernández de la Cueva, 10th Duke of Alburquerque, who was born in Genoa, Italy in 1666 and died in Madrid, Spain in 1724.
Located in north-central part of New Mexico, Albuquerque is the county seat of Bernalillo County. Tim Keller, 44, is the incumbent and 30th mayor of the city.