A protester was shot on Monday night in Albuquerque, New Mexico after an armed, right-wing civilian militia called the New Mexico Civil Guard showed up to protect a statue of despotic conquistador Juan de Oñate that protesters were trying to remove.
KOB reports: “Moments before protesters were about to remove the statue with a chain, a struggle broke out among the crowd. Video footage shows the protesters directing their attention toward a man brandishing a gun. ‘Get his license plate,’ screamed one protester in the video. ‘Follow him.’ A group of protesters pulled the subject to the ground. After a few seconds of struggle, the subject shot his gun four times. Police officers in riot gear arrived shortly afterwards.”
One man was shot, according to the NYT: “As dozens of people gathered around a statue of Oñate, New Mexico’s 16th-century colonial governor, shouting matches erupted over proposals to take it down and a man was shot, prompting police officers in riot gear to rush in. The man, who was not identified, was taken away in an ambulance, and the police took into custody several members of a right-wing militia who were dressed in camouflage and carrying military-style rifles. It was not clear whether any of them had fired the shot; witnesses said the gunman was a white man in a blue shirt.”
The victim was reported to be in critical but stable condition later Monday night.
Mayor Tim Keller released a statement:
“The shooting tonight was a tragic, outrageous and unacceptable act of violence and it has no place in our city. Our diverse community will not be deterred by acts meant to divide or silence us. Our hearts go out the victim, his family and witnesses whose lives were needlessly threatened tonight. This sculpture has now become an urgent matter of public safety. In order to contain the public safety risk, the City will be removing the statue until the appropriate civic institutions can determine next steps.”
As did Michelle Grisham, the state’s governor:
“Although we are still learning more about the situation, I am horrified and disgusted beyond words by the reports of violence at a protest Monday night in Albuquerque. The heavily armed individuals who flaunted themselves at the protest, calling themselves a “civil guard,” were there for one reason: To menace protesters, to present an unsanctioned show of unregulated force. To menace the people of New Mexico with weaponry – with an implicit threat of violence – is on its face unacceptable; that violence did indeed occur is unspeakable.
“I am monitoring the situation; my administration is in touch with local officials; the individual who was injured is in my prayers, and I am thinking of their family and friends.
“Let me clear: There is absolutely no space in New Mexico for any violent would-be ‘militia’ seeking to terrorize New Mexicans; and there is no space for violence of any kind on our streets and in our communities, or for any sort of escalation of reckless, violent rhetoric, no matter who strikes first. The instigators this evening will be rooted out, they will be investigated, and they will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”