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Albuquerque police investigate road-rage shooting that killed 11-year-old

Sep. 7—Albuquerque police are investigating what officials believe was a road-rage shooting Wednesday night near Isotopes Stadium that killed an 11-year-old boy and left a woman in her 20s in critical condition.

Police Chief Harold Medina said in a news conference Thursday morning a family leaving the stadium after a baseball game became involved in an altercation with people riding in another vehicle over a traffic infraction, such as an improper U-turn, just past the intersection of Avenida César Chávez and University Boulevard. Someone in the second vehicle fired 17 shots, the chief said.

"What's most disheartening is an 11-year-old child was in the front seat of the vehicle and lost their lives last night. We had a relative of this child also struck," a young woman who is in critical condition at a local hospital, he said.

"We do have one of our best homicide detectives on this incident. ... I am hopeful they will be able to bring justice to this family," the chief added.

Police have not yet determined what kind of gun was used in the crime, Medina said, but investigators have collected shell casings and were hoping to gather DNA evidence from them.

He believes there were multiple suspects, he said. "I would be shocked if there was just one single individual in the car."

The tragedy prompted Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to sign an executive order Thursday declaring gun violence a public health emergency in the state. The order provides up to $750,000 to state agencies to help reduce gun violence.

"The time for standard measures has passed," Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

While her administration has worked to "pass legislation, support law enforcement and significantly increase public safety resources to curb violence," she said, "... it is clear that we need to do more."

She added, "I want to know that local officials are giving the epidemic of gun violence the attention it deserves. I want to know that every parent is making sure their guns are locked up. I want to know that district attorneys and judges are using every tool at their disposal to hold bad actors accountable."

Medina noted the shooting is the fifth fatal road-rage shooting in Albuquerque in 2023. It comes after an Aug. 13 drive-by shooting in a mobile home park killed a 5-year-old girl as she was sleeping.

The police department has not yet released the names of the victims in Wednesday's incident.

In a news release issued Thursday afternoon, the agency provided details about the vehicle carrying the suspected shooters, which is "believed to be a newer model Dodge Durango SRT."

"Do not approach the vehicle or its occupants," the agency wrote in the news release.

Medina and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller both urged members of the community to contact law enforcement or call Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers, 505-843-STOP (7867), if they witnessed the incident or have information about the vehicle or suspects.

"We're asking for the public's help in this ... somebody who's seen something, somebody who knows something," Medina said at the news conference.

The chief had harsh words for those responsible for taking the life of a child over a minor traffic infraction.

"Individuals with that mindset have no other place in this community but jail," he said. "And I will clearly say I don't care how old these individuals are, in the end. I don't care how young they are. They deserve to stay in jail until their case is heard, and then they deserve adult consequences for what they have done."

Keller also spoke at the news conference, calling the killing "unconscionable" and emphasizing the rising problem of gun violence in the city.

"This is a nightmare experience for that family and, I think, in many ways for our city," the mayor said. "This is the kind of thing that should never, ever, ever happen in America or New Mexico or Albuquerque or anywhere else."

He said "guns are awash in our community, and they are being used on an 11-year-olds. They are being used on 5-year-olds."

He was referring to Galilea Samaniego, who was struck in the head with a bullet in the early morning hours of Aug. 13 as she was sleeping in a room with her two sisters at the home of a babysitter. Authorities have said they believe the homeowner's teenage grandson was the target of the attack. Five teens have been charged and arrested in the girl's death, some as young as 15.

Medina agreed the number of firearms in Albuquerque is a major factor in the increasing fatalities.

Lujan Grisham said in her statement she planned to provide more details on the public health emergency Friday and called a meeting with law enforcement leaders to determine the next steps in cracking down on gun violence.

She also wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday, asking that additional federal law enforcement agents be assigned to New Mexico to combat "vast criminal networks" and to "assist in curbing the escalating violence and drug and human-trafficking activity that is ravaging our great State."