A road rage shooting near the University of New Mexico’s South Campus left a child dead on Wednesday evening, according to Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina. The incident prompted Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to issue a 30-day prohibition of carrying guns on public property in Bernalillo County.
“They’re being used on 11-year-olds. They’re being used on 5-year-olds. This is the fifth example of road rage killing somebody in our city this year,” APD Director of Communications Gilbert Gallegos said in a media brief on Thursday.
An 11-year old boy was struck by gunfire and died, Medina said. The driver of the vehicle was also struck and in critical condition as of Thursday. APD said the suspects are still at large and detectives are searching for a Dodge Durango SRT in connection with the crime.
Officers at the University substation heard what they thought were shots being fired at 8:54 p.m. on Wednesday, Medina said.
“They couldn’t tell the direction of the shots, and about two minutes later, the calls started coming through dispatch,” Medina said in a media brief on Thursday morning.
Just over an hour after the first shots were heard, a LoboAlert informed UNM students of police activity at the intersection of Avenida Cesar Chavez Rd. and University Blvd. and advised them to avoid the area until further notice.
Security officers at Lobo Village, the student housing complex near The Pit, advised residents who were entering the apartment complex to lockdown shortly after the incident.
Resident Director of the American Campus Communities properties Marcus Romero said that heightened security levels and onsite security officer coverage remain in place at Lobo Village.
“While this incident did not occur at Lobo Village or involve its residents, the police did a sweep of the community out of an abundance of caution,” Romero said.
A second LoboAlert notified students that APD had cleared the scene and roadways were open on Thursday at about 8 a.m.
UNM Police Department Lieutenant Larry Bitsoih said that APD is the lead agency in the case and declined comment on behalf of UNMPD.
Caroline Heller, a student from the Netherlands, has been in New Mexico for just four weeks and noted the contrast in gun violence between the two places.
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“People say it’s dangerous and there’s a lot of shooting,” Heller said, adding that it was harder to conceptualize the extent of the issue before arriving here.
The fact that the victim was a child made the situation feel scarier. “It’s random and so unnecessary,” Heller said.
Gun violence against children prompted Gov. Lujan Grisham to take action. The incident caused a state and nationwide stir after she declared gun violence a public health emergency on Thursday. She also announced an enforcement plan for gun violence on Friday, which includes a 30-day suspension of concealed and open carry laws in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.
“When New Mexicans are afraid to be in crowds, to take their kids to school, to leave a baseball game – when their very right to exist is threatened by the prospect of violence at every turn – something is very wrong,” she said.
Lauren Lifke is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter: @lauren_lifke
Lauren Lifke is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo.