Man charged in gas station deaths

Saturday, July 26, 2003

RANCHOS DE TAOS, N.M. -- A man with a pair of guns pumped 19 shots into a car at a gas station, killing three people, authorities said Friday.

Jason Perea, 25, fled in his pickup after the shootings Thursday night and was captured near Espanola, about 35 miles away, District Attorney Donald Gallegos said.

Perea, of Taos, was being held on $1.5 million bail after his arraignment on charges including three counts of first-degree murder.

The gunman may have had a confrontation with at least one of the slain men earlier Thursday, Gallegos said.

"There have been some allegations of drugs and gangs," he said. "None of that has been confirmed, but we're not ruling that out, either."

The dead were identified as Eric Tollardo, 23; Alfredo Rael, 22; and Nathaniel Maestas, 14, all of Taos. They were shot with .40-caliber and 9mm handguns.

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