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Man charged in New Mexico Oñate protest shooting; militia group’s presence ‘condemned’

Police mugshot via KOAT/ABC
Steven Baca, charged with aggravated assault for a shooting during a protest.
Arrests are made of armed militia members in Albuquerque after a shooting at an Oñate protest.
AP via ABC News
Oñate protesters in Albuquerque ahead of a shooting.

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico —  A 31-year-old man has been arrested and charged with aggravated battery in a shooting that happened as protesters in New Mexico’s largest city tried to tear down a bronze statue of a Spanish conquistador outside the Albuquerque Museum, police said Tuesday.

Vigilantes might have started the violence that led to the shooting during Monday night's demonstration, authorities indicated, and the governor vowed to hold the "instigators" fully accountable.

Police identified the man charged in the shooting as a former Albuquerque city council candidate, Steven Ray Baca. According to a criminal complaint obtained by ABC affiliate KOAT, cell phone video shows a man in a blue shirt identified as Baca shooting several rounds from a semi-automatic handgun.

The wounded man, Scott Williams, was listed in critical but stable condition, said Albuquerque police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos.

A confrontation had erupted between protesters and a group of armed militia men who were trying to protect the statue of Juan de Oñate before protesters wrapped a chain around it and began tugging on it while chanting: “Tear it down.”

Moments later, a few gunshots could be heard down the street and people started yelling that someone had been shot.

Gallegos said police used tear gas and flash bangs to protect the officers who intervened and detained those in a right-wing militia group who may have been involved in the shooting. He said they were disarmed and taken into custody for questioning as police worked to secure the scene. He said detectives were investigating with the help of the FBI.

The militia group, known as the New Mexico Civil Guard, took to social media on Tuesday to say that Baca was not a member of their group and maintained they were "not involved in the shooting."

Nonetheless, Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Grier said in a statement Tuesday that police were looking into whether the group possibly instigated the shooting.

“If this is true, (we) will be holding them accountable to the fullest extent of the law, including federal hate group designation and prosecution,” the chief added.

"I am horrified and disgusted beyond words," Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement condemning the "heavily armed individuals who flaunted themselves at the protest, calling themselves a 'civil guard.' "

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico) also asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the shooting.

"This is not the first report of heavily armed civilian militias appearing at protests around New Mexico in recent weeks. These extremists cannot be allowed to silence peaceful protests or inflict violence."

The city of Albuquerque on Tuesday removed the statue at the center of the controversy, which remained intact, until officials could determine next steps.

The violence Monday night came just hours after activists in northern New Mexico celebrated the removal of another likeness of Oñate that was on public display at a cultural center in the community of Alcalde. Rio Arriba County officials removed it to safeguard it from possible damage and to avoid civil unrest ahead of a scheduled protest.

Last week, another statue of him outside of El Paso International Airport was vandalized.

All of this comes amid a new wave of criticism of these statues as an affront to indigenous people and an obstacle to greater racial harmony.

Associated Press

ABC News




  1. It seems that the PD was there, but not doing their job. They should have told these self-described “militia” to go away, but didn’t, then they should have protected public property. It’s their job, but didn’t. The Mayor and Police Chief are politicizing the police department. Had the PD been doing their jobs, none of this would have happened. I detest criticizing any PD, having spent 29 years in law enforcement, but politicians using departments is wrong.

    1. Look at the video, the shooting was in self defense. These ANTIFA punks were hitting the guy in the head with skateboards. This guy will make millions in the lawsuit against the city.

  2. I wonder how long it will take for protestors to demand Ornate High School in Las Cruces change their name like they’re trying to do with Robert E. Lee elementary in El Paso?

    1. Or how about the Don Juan de Onate (Conquistador) on the horse statue at the El Paso airport. It was vandalized with spray paint but not torn down.

  3. Again two idiots Madmike and K1DPR KNOW EVERYTHUNG!!!!!!!!lol. They even know the Albuquerque situation! Wow! Two sidelined old timers with sooooooo much knowledge sitting at home like pretty senoritas. As moron mike states……” I detest criticizing any PD”. That’s the culture right there that needs reform. Again moron mike, LEOs are the employees, taxpayers are the customer. I hope u understand who pays.

        1. alberto muerto is used to kneeling that’s why its easy for IT to kneel. IT is a racist slimy parasite. Only racists kneel. They gave up burning crosses cause they kept burning their hot dogs.

  4. Funny how ignorant these protesters are. Shows the failures of our education system in demokkkratic cities. Someone needs to tell these unwashed that the statue’s of the conquistadors they are trying to bring down are the grand daddy’s of most of the Hispanics in the New World. Without them, these mestizos would not be alive now. But hey. As long as it’s public property they’ll tear it down.

    1. Every one of these little shits with their cell phones should be arrested for riot. Once they started destroying property, they became rioters.

  5. Young, dumb and full of Schiff.

    These “peaceful” protestors, the INSTANT they step out of line, need to be forcibly removed from the area.

    Vandalizing public property isn’t protesting, it’s committing a CRIME.

    Their clown mayor sounds like our clown mayor, a complete, total, pliable puzzy.

  6. FOLKS LISTEN UP: The America as you knew it is gone. You know dam well. We are going thru a transformation of balance, equality, harsh punishment for racism, etc. Madmike/K1DPR/ jamesloser/geedubb/nadodave/Fero2a,etc is you don’t like it leave our country!!!!!’ But the change is eminent. The masses have spoken and we the people control NOT the government. Assimilation is a word you need to familiarize yourself with.

    1. Wrong Alberto. It is still the same. Status quo. What’s changed is in your delusional mind. You are still the the same poor bigot and racist Alberto. How’s that CHAZ/CHOP of yours doing? Tend to your gardening.

    2. Blah! Blah!Blah!Blah! Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah!Blah! Go flatulate somewhere else.

  7. Looks like Mr Baca took offense that the unwashed were trying to pull down the statue of one of his ancestors. Not sure though that Cabeza de Baca went up that far into New Mexico when he engendered his Spanish seed into the Native Americans of the area. To top it off the offender that got shot is a white guy. The white guy must be one of those kneel or be called a racist snowflakes.

  8. Evetyone is complaining about racism and police brutality. How is tearing down statues of historical figures and changing the names of schools going to solve these problems?

    1. Because it’s not about racism or police brutality. It’s about erasing history, it’s what communists LOVE to do. They did in the USSR, China, Cambodia (the mass killing of intellectuals and Khmer Rouge ring a bell), Vietnam, etc.

    1. Hey dolt have you looked outside of your basement window lately? Still looks the same to me. You must be hallucinating. The old Alberto is still an idiot. Even a new Alberto would still be an idiot.

  9. Lesson to be learned is watch out for the antifa with the skateboards and big radical mouths. They are using them as deadly weapons now. Hit me with one and I will surely use deadly force back. Upon reviewing the video and sound it is obvious that Baca will be able to claim a good self defense argument.

    1. The only one using his mouth as a deadly weapon is your idiotic president. Everytime he opens his big mouth he damages Americas standing beyond repair. That is why he doesn’t wear a mask so he can do as much damage everytime he opens his yap. Trump is the laughing stock of the world thanks to dummies like you who voted for him. What a joke!

      1. TDS much Alberto? I can’t wait to see your TDS amplify when he gets reelected. I’ll vote for him again this November. I don’t vote for deluded Democrats.

    1. It was a peaceful demonstration brought together to topple a statue of Juan de Onate. The demonstrators attacked an inanimate object that represents brutal oppression of New Mexico American tribes by Spanish conquerors. The dumb ass that showed up with his posse and shoved several women down to the ground and pepper sprayed several demonstrators before shooting one had no business trying to stop these people. It was the police who were in an official position to stop the toppling of the statue not this vigilante. Other self described law defenders that were with him were also arrested and guns confiscated. This nut case was not there to stop the toppling of the statue, he was there because of his hate for the demonstrators who represent a danger to his Nationalistic, right wing beliefs.

      1. A peaceful demonstration to cause properly damage? A peaceful demonstration that led to these TERRORISTS ganging up on one people yelling “WE ARE GOING TO KILL YOU!!” that’s peaceful? I hate to see what you think is violent? Maybe it’s only when the evil righties do literally anything. You better pray to Baphomet or whatever Satanic deity that this doesn’t lead to a Yugoslav type of balkanization, you won’t like what happens then.

  10. Steven Ray BACA not a white person and part of a militia. I might agree with this guy on some things and I would hardly call him an instigator. Not when folks are yelling and looting don’t call the last person the instigator.

    1. So because his name is Baca he’s not White? Plenty of white people with Spanish surnames in the world. He’s the son of an ex sheriff who was ultra right wing law and order defender. Remind you of anyone? How about Trump?

  11. Bludgeoned? Look at the picture. This guy doesn’t have a drop of blood on his head or face. The guy with the skateboard was using it to defend himself after numbnuts started going crazy on the demonstrators by pushing, shoving, and tear gassing them. The one that got it was the guy who is in the hospital in critical condition thanks to the right-wing vigilante. No knife. The picture you see in Imgur is not conclusive evidence that it’s a weapon of any kind. The full investigation will have the right-wing terrorist doing a spell at Fed Corrections in New Mexico.

    1. Well when you’re getting attacked by 4-5 lunatics yelling “WE’RE GOING TO KILL YOU” while one blugeons you with a skateboard and has a knife in his hand, it’ is MORE than justified. Even if the knife wasn’t there, it is a moot, this is a justifiable use of force no matter which way you cut it you dunce.


    1. You mean in your basement CHAZ/CHOP zone? Get out of your basement Alberto. Joe Biden finally crawled out. Go ahead kneel and fall over. Or like Pelosi can’t get up.

    2. You too dude. BLM does not include hispanics. They don’t care about you. They are sick and tired of the democrats supporting illegal aliens and non-American citizens and providing them with jobs, homes and food, etc. while completely IGNORING the black community who have lived in, worked in and contributed to our communities. They are tired of the racist democrats keeping them down. Read something other than comic books and liberal propaganda!

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