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Albuquerque removes statue of Spanish conqueror Juan de Oñate after shooting in protest

June 17, 2020

The Mayor of the City of Albuquerque, Tim Keller, announced his intention to remove the statue of the Spanish conqueror Juan de Oñate on Tuesday after a protest against him ended with several members of a civilian armed group that was arrested by a gunfight left behind seriously injured person.

“The shooting of the Oñate sculpture was terrible and an unacceptable act of violence,” said Keller at a press conference where he insisted that the event be condemned. “Last night, the sculpture was more of a public security issue than a symbol and is being withdrawn today,” he added, the CNN television broadcaster reported.

In this regard, both the Mayor and Mike Geier, chief of the New Mexico State Albuquerque Police Department, have repeated that a small group of “agitators” were responsible for the recorded violence and that more than 20 firearms were confiscated from only one four persons.

Albuquerque removes statue of Spanish conqueror Juan de Oñate after shooting in protestAlbuquerque removes statue of Spanish conqueror Juan de Oñate after shooting in protest

Keller also reported that Steven Ray Baca, 31, was arrested in connection with the shootout. He was charged with aggravated assault and, he said, “appears to have stirred up the protest long before the shootout.” Geier has already put forward this hypothesis, assuring that several armed groups may have contributed to causing violence during the protest.

The investigation is currently in the hands of the New Mexico Police to ensure that it is “independent,” the mayor said. Those arrested after the shots at the rally near the Albuquerque Natural History Museum are members of the New Mexico Civil Guard armed civil group. The man, who was wounded by gunshots, remains in critical condition in a hospital.