Man shot at Juan de Oñate protest in Española

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ESPAÑOLA, N.M. — A man faces two charges for a shooting at a protest over the controversial Juan de Oñate statue Thursday in Española.

The shooting happened around 12:15 p.m. Thursday near the Rio Arriba County Complex.

One group was celebrating the postponement of the rededication of the Oñate statue. Standing by was a smaller group arguing their culture and history were being ignored. For the most part, they stayed separate, until one individual jumped a wall and ran toward the protesters.

Video shows the Oñate protesters trying to tackle the man – later identified as 23-year-old Ryan Martinez – as he ran toward the group. The protesters ripped off his “Make America Great Again” hat as he jumped back over the wall – firing one shot that hit a protester.

Witnesses said Martinez drove away in a white Tesla. They also said he was a known online troll who often riled up crowds at protests.

Medics arrived about 10 minutes later and took the shooting victim. Friends of the victim say medics airlifted him to Albuquerque, where he is still receiving medical care.

New Mexico State Police confirmed authorities arrested Martinez a short time later. Española Police Chief Mizel Garcia arrested the suspect with the aid of the Pojoaque police.

Martinez faces charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault with the use of a deadly weapon. He is being held without bond ahead of his first court appearance, set for 11:30 a.m. Friday.

KOB 4 reached out to the chair of the Rio Arriba County Commission, Alex Naranjo, who is a big proponent of rededicating the statue. We asked if he still wants the Oñate statue put up in front of the clerk’s office.

“If it was up to me, that statue would go back up – when? I don’t know,” Naranjo said. “But the fact of the matter is, I’m not going to melt that statue just to satisfy two or three individuals that are not even from this reality.”