A protest ended in violence after controversy around the erection of a Spanish statue. Here’s the story.
Protests Spark Over Juan de Oñate
The contentious debate surrounding the installation of a statue honoring Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate in northern New Mexico took a dangerous turn as a gunshot pierced the air during a protest.
This dramatic incident unfolded against the backdrop of heightened tensions, leading to the postponement of the statue’s unveiling by county officials.
Shooter Sporting MAGA Hat
The individual at the center of the shooting was a man sporting a Maga hat, identified as 23-year-old Ryan Martinez.
MAGA Shooter Refuses to Follow Police Orders
Earlier in the day, Martinez had engaged in a heated exchange with protesters, prompting law enforcement officers to instruct him to leave the scene.
Caught Red Handed
In a shocking turn of events captured on video, he vaulted over a short wall, advancing toward the crowd.
Suddenly, he produced a firearm from his waistband, firing a single shot before swiftly departing.
Pedestrian Pleads for Help
The gunshot sent shockwaves through the assembly, with one person heard pleading for assistance after sustaining a gunshot wound to the upper torso .
The wounded individual was quickly transported to a nearby hospital, their identity still undisclosed.
Police Step In
More than 20 law enforcement vehicles descended upon the scene, and Martinez was promptly apprehended.
However, the motive behind the shooting remained unclear, according to officials.
The Controversy of Juan de Oñate
The legacy of Juan de Oñate has long ignited controversy in New Mexico’s history.
The Controversy Continues
Activists have targeted statues and representations of the Spanish conquistador, decrying his harsh and brutal treatment of Native Americans during the colonization of the Southwestern United States.
Hero or Horrid?
While some Hispanics consider Oñate a symbol of their heritage, others condemn him for his oppressive actions.
Fears for Public Safety
Prior to the shooting, county authorities had wisely decided to delay the statue’s installation, citing concerns over public safety.
Sheriff Thankful for Postponement
Sheriff Billy Merrifield expressed his gratitude for the commissioners’ choice to halt the unveiling.
Activists Stay Strong
Nonetheless, people still congregated at the site, holding banners that read “not today Oñate” and “celebrate resistance, not conquistadores.”
In the aftermath of the shooting, Sheriff Merrifield expressed his deep anguish over another instance of gun violence.
No Questions Please
Declining to take questions, he indicated that New Mexico State Police were overseeing the crime scene and investigation.
More Answers to Come
However, the police did not provide any information regarding the charges brought against the suspect, Ryan Martinez, who now remains in custody.
This post Controversial Erection of Spanish Statue Ends in Violence and Gunfire in New Mexico first appeared on Edge.Media.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Glen Jones. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.