Man attacked while riding bike in NE Albuquerque

Man attacked while riding bike in NE Albuquerque

A certain stretch of one of Albuquerque's high traffic bike paths has gone from a meeting place for our homeless to a crime scene in a matter of weeks.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A certain stretch of one of Albuquerque’s high traffic bike paths has gone from a meeting place for our homeless to a crime scene in a matter of weeks.

The stretch runs along the edge of Winrock Town Center and through Jerry Cline Park in northeast Albuquerque.

Now, a mugging victim is recovering, and other neighbors are speaking up about the constant cycle of crime and cleanliness issues. 

“I figure I took eight to 12 blows over the head. Had it not been for God’s grace and his helmet, I think things would have been much different,” said Jon Beaty, a mugging victim.

The victim’s bruises are healing – and the encampment’s clear – but neighbors don’t have a lot of confidence it will stay that way. 

“I love it. It’s probably the only sport that I do regularly,” said Beaty.

But that changed once he ran into two men as he approached the I-40 bridge on May 9.

“The heavyset guy goes, ‘Hey, bro, is it OK if I take it for a spin?’ And I’ve never been asked that before. You got an uneasy feeling, I just said, ‘No, that’s OK,’” Beaty said. 

They didn’t take no for an answer. 

“The next thing I knew, I was on the ground,” said Beaty. 

He thinks the attacker used a backpack with a brick inside to knock him down. 

“They just continued to pummel me over the head, punch me, kick me, whatever they could do until I stayed down when they could get away,” Beaty said. 

He says they got away with his E-bike, house keys, and garage opener.

“It’s been probably about $1,900 now because of that,” Beaty said. 

Almost three weeks later, his bruises haven’t faded.

“I’m fairly certain this cheekbone is fractured,” said Beaty. 

Neither has his heightened awareness on a trail he used to love. 

“I’ve always had a passion for compassion, and done what I could for these folks. But, you know, I have a new perspective now,” Beaty said.  

So does his neighbor, Linda Wood.

“What would be really nice is to be able to just walk through here and not be afraid, and be able to enjoy this,” said Wood. 

She’s been keeping tabs on the I-40 pedestrian bridge and the arroyo that runs under it for years now. She sent KOB 4 pictures earlier this month of a growing encampment in the area. Shortly after Beaty’s attack, the city cleared it out.

“Everyone wants to be able to enjoy that. But then we’re too scared to walk over here, and that’s part of living in this neighborhood that is supposed to be great,” said Beaty. 

Wood says the ongoing Winrock project played a role in her home purchase in the Snow Heights Neighborhood five years ago.

With a grand opening at Winrock planned for next month, Wood has to wonder if she’ll feel comfortable walking to the new amenity. 

“I’ve been real excited about that. But I’m too scared to walk,” Wood said. 

She’d like to see more signage and cameras to deter camping, and more patrols before it grows again. We asked the city about summer plans.

“It’s a collective effort really on top of the work that we already do with encampments,” said Mariel Ruiz-Angel, associate chief administrative officer. 

Ruiz-Angel says the alleged crime and its proximity to an arroyo during monsoon has this section taking priority. 

“Over the next few months, just given kind of the temperature, there’ll be a lot of presence of city employees and others making sure that that space is clean. So we anticipate that will be an area that stays clean,” said Ruiz-Angel. 

Something Wood and Beaty hope to be true.

“It’s very sad, and really hurts me that I’m feeling that way towards other people now. Hopefully I’ll get over that,” said Beaty.

Leaders say thank you to neighbors who use 311 or call to report these camps and encourage you to keep reporting.

They also say please be patient because more beds are coming to the Westside Shelter, there are more efforts on the street, and new phases at the Gateway Center are coming as soon as possible.