Justine Lopez & Megan Abundis
Updated: June 16, 2020 03:15 PM
Created: June 15, 2020 08:27 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A protester was shot at Tiguex Park Monday evening during a demonstration that was calling for the removal of a Juan de Oñate statue, "La Jornada," outside the Albuquerque Museum.
The injured man was transported to the hospital for treatment. He is listed in critical but stable condition.
Someone’s been shot. Multiple people calling 911. Chaos. pic.twitter.com/jxNjIvYJuf— Megan Abundis (@meganrabundis) June 16, 2020
Moments before protesters were about to remove the statue with a chain, a struggle broke out among the crowd.
Video footage shows the protesters directing their attention toward a man is a blue shirt.
"Get his license plate," screamed one protester in the video. "Follow him."
A group of protesters pulled the subject to the ground. After a few seconds of struggle, the subject shot his gun four times.
Police officers in riot gear arrived shortly afterwards.
Police say they arrested Stephen Ray Baca, 31, in connection to the shooting. He has been charged with aggravated battery. A number of members with the New Mexico Civil Guard, a self-described militia, were seen being arrested along with Baca.
Law enforcement deployed tear gas and non-lethal projectiles to try to push back the group of protesters.
Protesters continued to try to pull down the statue of Oñate while others attempted to let air out of the tires of police transport vans.
At around 9:20 p.m., the crowd began to disperse—leaving the statue intact.
The statue was removed Tuesday morning.
Tear gas. Very loud Flash bang. Non lethal projectiles in a matter of seconds. pic.twitter.com/d5hgKwEZjS— Megan Abundis (@meganrabundis) June 16, 2020
Mayor Tim Keller sent the following statement after Monday's shooting:
“The shooting tonight was a tragic, outrageous and unacceptable act of violence and it has no place in our city. Our diverse community will not be deterred by acts meant to divide or silence us. Our hearts go out the victim, his family and witnesses whose lives were needlessly threatened tonight. This sculpture has now become an urgent matter of public safety. In order to contain the public safety risk, the City will be removing the statue until the appropriate civic institutions can determine next steps.”
The governor's office also sent a statement about the incident:
“Although we are still learning more about the situation, I am horrified and disgusted beyond words by the reports of violence at a protest Monday night in Albuquerque. The heavily armed individuals who flaunted themselves at the protest, calling themselves a “civil guard,” were there for one reason: To menace protesters, to present an unsanctioned show of unregulated force. To menace the people of New Mexico with weaponry – with an implicit threat of violence – is on its face unacceptable; that violence did indeed occur is unspeakable.
“I am monitoring the situation; my administration is in touch with local officials; the individual who was injured is in my prayers, and I am thinking of their family and friends.
“Let me clear: There is absolutely no space in New Mexico for any violent would-be ‘militia’ seeking to terrorize New Mexicans; and there is no space for violence of any kind on our streets and in our communities, or for any sort of escalation of reckless, violent rhetoric, no matter who strikes first. The instigators this evening will be rooted out, they will be investigated, and they will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
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