Potential plea deal in the works for Albuquerque man accused of shooting protester
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The man accused of assaulting multiple women and shooting a man in the back during a violent protest in 2020 could be offered a plea deal. That’s according to an email received by a civil rights attorney representing one of the victims.
“It should be terrifying to people, that somebody can shoot a man running away in the back multiple times, without consequence,” said Laura Schauer Ives. She’s representing Scott Williams – the man police say Steven Ray Baca shot in the back several times.
The shooting happened during a heated protest at a statue of Juan de Oñate near the Albuquerque Museum. Protestors were calling for the statue’s removal during a period of heated racial and political tension in the United States. The protest attracted armed militia members and Baca.
“Mr. Baca, he didn’t just bring a gun to a knife fight, he brought a gun to a protest,” Schauer Ives said.
Cellphone video from the protest reportedly shows Baca throwing multiple women to the ground and shooting Williams in the back. Baca’s attorneys have claimed the shooting was in self-defense after he was hit with a skateboard. The shooting eventually pushed Mayor Tim Keller to direct city workers to remove the statue and place it in storage.
Baca was arrested at the scene and is currently facing several charges – including one count of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm with a firearm enhancement. It appears that charge may not be included in the proposed plea deal.
The email sent to Schauer Ives by the special prosecutor overseeing the case states: “ I wanted to let you know that we will be tendering a proposed plea in this matter that does not include a criminal charge related to Mr. Williams as that count will be dismissed as part of a plea agreement.” Schauer Ives says the prosecutor’s decision signals the shooting that hospitalized Williams could go unpunished.
“Gun violence right now is deeply concerning, and touching nearly everybody, and to have this go without consequence would be a travesty,” she said. “I think in any other context, that if this didn’t occur at a protest, if this didn’t occur in a politically charged climate, these same sets of fact, fact would result in a prosecution.”
Schauer Ives believes Baca’s fate should be decided by a jury.
The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office has not confirmed a potential plea deal for Baca. It’s not clear if the other charges Baca is facing are included in the proposed plea deal.