Yet Another Man Falls Victim to Gun Violence Surrounding N.M. Conquistador Statue

A man was shot Thursday during a protest in Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Old Town, over the planned relocation of a statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that a suspect is in police custody.

While law enforcement has not released the suspect’s name, journalists at the scene said the alleged shooter introduced himself as Ryan Martinez before the incident.

Martinez, who was seen wearing a Make America Great Again hat, initially fled the scene in a white Tesla. He was later arrested in Española.

The individual shot, a Native American, was taken away in an ambulance with chest and stomach-related injuries. According to The Hill, he is currently in stable condition.

The shooting happened after an altercation outside the Rio Arriba County Clerk’s Office, where a statue of Oñate was supposed to have been rededicated.

It was postponed indefinitely due to public safety concerns on Wednesday. However, individuals on both sides of the debate showed up to commemorate the conquistador or protest him a day later, regardless.

A motive has not been identified, and no charges have been filed.

It is the second time in recent history that a shooting happened at a protest rally for the Oñate statue.

In June 2020, Steven Ray Baca shot Scott Williams after protesters wrapped a chain around the statue, attempting to tear it down. Baca was reportedly part of a group gathered to protect the statute.

NPR noted when other statues of Oñate were being torn down in 2020 that he was the first European conquistador to colonize New Mexico, angering some that associate him with historical oppression.

Luca Cacciatore

Luca Cacciatore, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is based in Arlington, Virginia, reporting on news and politics. 

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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