Weld County Coroner identifies victim in April 25 suspected homicide
and Sharon Dunn
The suspect vehicle in what police say is a possible road rage homicide was described as a 1998-2002 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck, tan or gold in color. The vehicle has black fender flares. Authorities are asking that anyone with information about the homicide or the suspect vehicle to contact Greeley police at (970) 350-9605 or (970) 350-9670.
Weld County Coroner Carl Blesch has identified the man who police believe was the victim of a homicide Tuesday morning.
Alberto Ruiz, Jr., 33, of Greeley was the victim of what police believe may have been a road rage incident that turned deadly. Blesch was still unable to confirm the cause of death, and said the investigation is continuing.
Ruiz’s Facebook profile is largely private, but it does state that although he lived in Greeley, his hometown is San Elizario, Texas.
It’s the latest public development in a story that sent ripples through Greeley on Tuesday.
Kayla Juarez didn’t have to check the news to hear about the suspected homicide in southern Greeley. The Fairfield Inn assistant general manager drove past the scene — in the 3000 block of 29th St. — moments after it happened.
Later, during the day, police would set up roadblocks and first responders would swarm the silver company pickup that had crashed into a retaining wall on the side of the road, but as Juarez made her way past the scene on her daily sojourn to the bank, Ruiz was still on the ground, she said.
“I did notice the airbag was deployed,” she said. “There was a lot of blood on the steering wheel.”
Greeley police initially believed they were responding about 11 a.m. to a traffic crash with injuries. According to a news release from Greeley Police Sgt. Adam Turk, as they investigated, they began to suspect the death was a homicide, though. Police did not immediately release the victim’s name. Tribune news partner 7News was able to confirm with his friends and family he was employed with Estes Valley Asphalt, and was working on a job in the area. A man who answered the company’s phone late Wednesday afternoon declined to comment.
Some witnesses told police they heard an explosion before the pickup crashed into a nearby retaining wall.
“From witness statements and through evidence, it appears to be a possible road-rage type incident that resulted in the death,” Greeley police Lt. Roy Smith said.
Police did not return repeated calls for more information on Wednesday.
The suspect vehicle — described as a tan or gold 1998-2002 Chevrolet S-10 pickup with black fender flares — fled the scene.
Juarez said she missed the scene by a random delay.
“It was really scary,” she said. “If I would have left when I was planning (to), it could have been me.”
Fewer than 24 hours after the incident occurred, mourners had arrived on scene with balloons and flowers to commemorate the victim. They decorated the pieces of the retaining wall — where the truck sat Tuesday afternoon — with ornamental plastic bottles and placed a picture of the victim in a bush nearby. They said they did not want to talk about the incident yet.
The memorial offered a gentler contrast to the darker scene that had played out Tuesday.
“I’m going to have that image in my head for a while,” Juarez said.
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