New Mexico man charged with attempted murder in shooting at protest over Spanish conquistador statue

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man was charged Friday with attempted murder in a shooting that wounded one person at a protest over plans to install a statue of a Spanish conquistador outside government offices in the city of Española.

Defendant Ryan David Martinez, from Sandia Park, was read the felony charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon at his first appearance in municipal court. No plea was entered.

A temporary public defender assigned to Martinez could not be reached immediately by phone and didn’t respond to voice messages. An apparent relative of the defendant answered the phone but declined to comment or confirm her family relation.

Martinez was arrested Thursday after chaos erupted and a shot was fired during protests in Española about plans to install a bronze likeness of conquistador Juan de Oñate, who is both revered and reviled for his role in establishing early settlements along the Upper Rio Grande starting in 1598.

Other news
Turkish security forces cordon off an area after an explosion in Ankara, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the heart of the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Sunday, hours before parliament was scheduled to reopen after a summer recess. A second assailant was killed in a shootout with police. (AP Photo/Ali Unal)Turkey strikes suspected Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq after suicide attack in AnkaraPakistani people closed their shops during protest against the Mastung bombing alleging that the government's indifference caused the heavy loss of lives in Quetta, Pakistan, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. A suspected suicide bomber blew himself up among a crowd of people celebrating the Prophet Muhammad's birthday in southwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing more then 50 people and wounding dozens others, authorities said, in one of the country's deadliest attacks targeting civilians in months. (AP Photo/Arshad Butt)Pakistani Taliban attack a police post in eastern Punjab province, killing 1 officerFILE - This undated photo provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Portland Field Office shows a makeshift cinderblock cell in Klamath Falls, Ore., allegedly used by Negasi Zuberi. Zuberi, the man arrested in July 2023 for allegedly kidnapping a woman in Seattle, driving her hundreds of miles to his home in Klamath Falls and locking her in the makeshift cinder block cell, is facing fresh charges in a new, separate state case against him, court documents show. A grand jury in southern Oregon’s Klamath County indicted Zuberi on 11 counts, including first-degree rape, sexual abuse and kidnapping, on Sept. 11, 2023. (FBI via AP, File)Man accused of locking a woman in a cell in Oregon faces rape, kidnapping charges in separate case

Installation of the statue was planned for Thursday but was canceled by county officials amid security concerns. The statue of Oñate in armor on horseback was commissioned in the 1990s and installed near Española amid fanfare and resentment. The statute was taken down in 2020 during a national movement for racial justice that sought to topple countless monuments.

The victim of Thursday’s shooting, a 42-year-old man, was flown to an Albuquerque hospital for treatment of a wound to the abdomen. His condition was not immediately available from state police overseeing the shooting investigation.

A warrant for Martinez’s arrest includes testimony from witnesses who described an otherwise peaceful protest Thursday and the arrival of several men in “MAGA” hats. One witness told state police that protesters’ children were gathered together near a makeshift shrine at the pedestal intended for the Oñate statue, amid misgivings about safety, and that “peacekeepers” blocked Martinez’s way from entering the area.

Police reviewed video of the confrontation as recordings circulated on social media.

“Ryan is seen attempting to rush the shrine and being stopped by a group of men,” Officer Shane Faulkner says in the narrative. “As Ryan (retreated) back over the short wall, a man can be heard saying, ‘Let him go.’ The group of men do not try to pursue Ryan, and Ryan pulled his handgun from his waistband and shoots.”

Martinez was transported to a detention center in the Rio Arriba County government seat of Tierra Amarilla. A hearing on possible terms of pretrial detention is scheduled next week.

A pretrial services report showed no prior convictions for Martinez and no prior failures to appear in court.

___

Associated Press writer Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque contributed to this story.

About The Author

Scroll to Top