#Man accused of shooting New Mexico protester is ex-city council candidate

#Man accused of shooting New Mexico protester is ex-city council candidate

June 16, 2020 | 10:33pm

The man accused of shooting a protester amid clashes between demonstrators and an armed militia group in Albuquerque, New Mexico is the son of a former sheriff’s deputy and once ran for the local city council, according to a report.

Steven Ray Baca, 31, was busted early Tuesday after allegedly opening fire during a demonstration calling for the removal of a statue of Spanish conquerer Juan de Oñate, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The shooting took place Monday as a group of heavily armed members of a militia group called the New Mexico Civil Guard stepped in to protect the controversial statue, which the protesters were attempting to take down with a pickaxe and chain.

Police said 39-year-old Scott Williams was shot several times in the torso. He was in critical but stable condition at the University of New Mexico Hospital.

A lawyer for the victim’s family said Williams has “devoted his life to seeking equality and justice for all.”

“When Steven Baca repeatedly attacked peaceful protestors in Albuquerque last night, Scott took bullets for the community he cares about,” Laura Schauer Ives said in a statement.

Video obtained by the Journal allegedly showed Baca moving through the crowd and violently throwing a woman to the ground before demonstrators began to advance on him.

According to a criminal complaint, several protesters “appeared to maliciously pursue” Baca, struck him with a longboard and tackled him to the ground.

As a man picked up the longboard and swung it toward Baca, “a series of gunshots are heard, and the longboard is dropped to the ground,” the complaint states.

“[Baca] is recorded as holding a black-colored semi-automatic handgun and firing several shots.”

Baca was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon with a firearm enhancement.

Several men who appeared to be members of the civil guard were also taken into custody. It’s unclear what connection Baca has to the group.

In 2019, Baca ran for the local city council on a tough-on-crime platform, but lost in the six-way race. During the campaign, he called local officials “complete wimps when it comes to fighting crime.”

Baca is the son of a former Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy, according to the Journal. Following the shooting, Baca said that his father works for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, a witness at the scene had tweeted.


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