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Suspect 'feared for his life' during deadly road confrontation in Chandler, police say

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Posted at 8:35 AM, Nov 15, 2021

CHANDLER, AZ — A man accused of killing another driver during a road-rage incident in Chandler over the weekend reportedly told police he feared for his life during the exchange.

Shots were fired Saturday afternoon near Gilbert and Germann roads, leading to the death of 37-year-old Christopher Pelkey.

Fifty-year-old Gabriel Paul Horcasitas was taken into custody at the scene.

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According to police documents, Horcasitas stopped behind Pelkey at a red light and proceeded to honk his horn at him.

Pelkey then reportedly got out of his vehicle to approach Horcasitas. Witnesses say Pelkey had both of his hands raised in a gesture as if he was questioning Horcasitas.

Documents say while Pelkey was still walking toward Horcasitas' vehicle, witnesses heard up to three gunshots and Pelkey went back toward his own vehicle.

He reportedly collapsed on the sidewalk and Horcasitas got out of his vehicle to provide a “trauma kit” to a witness to render aid.

Horcasitas reportedly told police that Pelkey swerved around him at a high rate of speed and he did not believe he had cut the victim off at any point. Horcasitas said he honked as a “friendly gesture.”

He told police Pelkey approached his vehicle with “clenched” fists and made threats toward him, though witnesses say it’s unknown what, if anything, Pelkey said. Horcasitas also claimed Pelkey was holding his door shut.

Pelkey was not armed at the time and Horcasitas said he knew Pelkey was not armed. However, Horcasitas said he felt his life was threatened so he “double tapped” Pelkey with his Glock handgun during the alleged altercation at his door.

His description of the events differed from what multiple witnesses reported, and Horcasitas told police, “it happened fast,” when asked why he didn’t just ignore Pelkey.

A stray bullet also struck another nearby vehicle, breaking its rear window. A mother and her two children were in the car but were not harmed.

He was booked into jail on multiple charges including first-degree murder, drive-by shooting, and endangerment.

He is being held on a $150,000 bond.