Albuquerque Public Schools custodian shot on the job

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — “I thought it was relatively safe until things have been happening,” said a man who lives right down the street from Kennedy Middle School.

Early Friday morning, just past 5:30 a.m., 47-year-old Paul Tafoya – a custodian for Kennedy Middle School – almost lost his life when he showed up for work. 

According to Albuquerque Public Schools, and a GoFundMe page started by his family, Tafoya asked a few people to leave after he found them trespassing. 

APS police say that’s when someone shot Tafoya in his back, twice. 

“I didn’t hear anything, see anything, so I was surprised,” said a neighbor near the school. 

APS police are the lead agency in this investigation.  

APS police say bullet fragments are in Tafoya’s neck and back, some in areas that could even cause paralysis if removed improperly. 

Tafoya’s family started a GoFundMe page to help with his hospital costs. They’ve surpassed their $5,000 goal hitting more than $7,300 Wednesday evening. 

According to an update on the GoFundMe, Tafoya was expected to be released from the hospital sometime Wednesday.  

Bullet holes were noticeable on a sign that sits on Kennedy Middle School’s property – it’s a school that one neighbor knows very well. 

“I went to Kennedy [Middle School] all three years,” Leilani Nonies, another neighbor near the school said. “Tensions are higher, tensions are a lot higher.” 

Nonies went to KMS back in the late ‘90s, and she’s in shock with what happened there just a few days ago. 

“People need to stop being so impatient and so angry at everything,” Nonies said. 

Another neighbor says he doesn’t want to simply take his dogs out after what happened. 

“I would like to walk. I like to walk my dog, but I haven’t,” the neighbor said. 

Residents are now questioning what can be done after incidents like this keep happening across the metro – innocent people getting killed and injured seemingly due to short tempers. 

“It’s not one answer,” Nonies said. “There’s going to be a process and steps that we need to take both as a community and then our political system as well.” 

If you know any information that can help with this investigation, you are asked to call Albuquerque Public Schools Police at (505)-243-7712