5 Albuquerque teens killed in surge of shootings
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Tuesday, Albuquerque police identified five teens killed in a surge of shootings all within the first week of June.
“There are more and more teens armed with firearms now than any other period than I’ve ever seen,” said APD Chief Harold Medina during a press conference Monday.
Thursday, June 1
APD says 18-year-old Adrian Porras was shot and killed in a neighborhood near Unser and Ladera Thursday evening. Officers were dispatched to area shortly after 6:00 p.m.. The circumstances surrounding his death are still under investigation. A GoFundMe page revealed Porras graduated from high school only five days before the shooting.
Sunday, June 6
APD says three teens were killed in a shooting at a house party. It happened around 1:00 a.m. at a house party near Montgomery and Washington, according to police. 18-year-old Marcos Perez, 18-year-old Jordan Johnson and 19-year-old Nick Ortega were all killed in the shooting which reportedly happened after some type of confrontation. A 17-year-old girl was shot in the leg and is expected to survive. APD has not revealed details about what lead to the confrontation.
Sunday, June 6
APD says 19-year-old Jazmin Lerma was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend Julian Falero inside his home near 4th St. and San Clemente Avenue. NW. Police say it appears the 20-year-old was holding the girl against her will. As of Monday morning, Falero is still on the run from police. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call 242-COPS.
All three shootings alarmed anti-gun violence advocates, but they believe the house party shooting should raise concerns for parents.
Sunday’s shooting marked the latest house party shooting involving teens in Albuquerque. In December, an Albuquerque Academy student was killed at a house party, and four months earlier, gunfire sparked chaos at a house party on the West Side.
“I hate to say it, but do not go to parties right now. I mean, do not go to parties right now,” said Miranda Viscoli. “What we are hearing from the students on a regular basis is that every party has a gun, or more than one gun, and if you want to get killed, you go to a party, that that’s what they’re telling us.”
Viscoli is the co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, an advocacy group that works with youth across Albuquerque to raise awareness about the dangers of guns.
Viscoli says she’s noticed an increase in gun violence involving teens in Albuquerque and worries the problem is getting worse.
“It’s just not safe right now,” she said. “There are too many guns out there It’s where we are.”
UNM Hospital trauma surgeon Dr. Richard Miskimins says he’s also noticed an increase in teen gun violence — from an emergency room perspective.
“This has increased from what used to be like two a month to what’s now about four to five a month,” he said. “This year alone, I’ve had six people under the age of 17 that have been shot and died, either in the emergency department or in the operating room.”
Miskimins says it’s important to remember the majority of gunshot victims do not make it to the hospital. He also added every gunshot injury is a serious one.
“Not everyone that gets shot dies, but every one that does get shot has usually a permanent disability of some kind,” he said.
Viscoli believes the rise in teen gun violence is directly connected to an increased number of guns in Albuquerque. She points to massive increase in gun sales at the beginning of the pandemic – of which New Mexico saw some of the largest increases.
“When you get a surge in gun sales, it takes about two years for those guns to start ending up in unsafe hands, and that’s what we’re seeing,” she said.
Viscoli believes some teens are actively buying and selling guns through social media platforms – like Snapchat, but she says her work with local high schoolers reveals many teens are living in homes with guns already.
“What we’re hearing in our gun violence prevention workshops, is that our teenagers are really frightened that they’re living in homes where guns are not locked up,” she said. “It’s hard for them to ask their parents to lock up their guns.”
Teens getting their hands on guns is one thing. Dr. Miskimins believes there’s other factors that contribute to gun violence among teens.
“There’s a lack of conflict resolution skills among a lot of teenagers and those that are affected by gun violence,” he said. “It’s difficult sometimes to just walk away and be okay, with walking away.”
Both Viscoli and Miskimins believe gun violence is becoming too common among Albuquerque teens. They suggest it’s hard to emphasize the dangers of guns when they are so prevalent in teen’s lives.
“Back in the day, kids would get in the fistfight, right? Or they would, but now when you put so many guns in our communities, it becomes the norm,” Viscoli said.
“I don’t think I could name a single person that I knew that had been shot when I was in high school,” Dr. Miskimins said. “When we go out to the schools and meet with them, they all know somebody. Someone from their school has died, someone in their family has died. It’s much more pervasive than I kind of anticipated.”
Both Viscoli and Dr. Miskimins are encouraging teens to walk away or go home when they see guns at parties. Viscoli is going a step further and encouraging parents to not let their kids attend any parties.
“That’s not a fair message, because kids should be allowed to go to parties, but right now in Albuquerque, I would say not until things cool down,” she said.