On Monday, clashes between rioting haters of history and defenders of monuments came to a head in New Mexico when one man was shot after pursuing another and threatening to “kill” him.
The man was taken to a local hospital where he was listed in critical but stable condition, police said.
“The shooting tonight was a tragic, outrageous and unacceptable act of violence and it has no place in our city,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said in a statement.
Protesters reportedly wrapped a chain around the statue and started tugging on it amid chants of “Tear it down.” At least one person swung a pickaxe at the statue of New Mexico’s 16th-century colonial governor.
Gunshots could be heard down the street just moments later, with several people yelling, “Somebody got shot,” according to the Journal. About five shots were fired by a single gunman after protesters started advancing on him, the paper reported.
Police used chemical irritants and flashbangs to protect officers and detain those involved in the shooting, Albuquerque police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said. Officers were seen taking five or six men dressed in military fatigues into custody.
“We are receiving reports about vigilante groups possibly instigating this violence. If this is true [we] will be holding them accountable to the fullest extent of the law, including federal hate group designation and prosecution,” Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier said on Twitter late Monday.
He added that the city will be “removing the statue until the appropriate civic institutions can determine next steps,” in order to limit the public safety risk.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, said in a statement that the armed individuals were there to menace protesters.
More arrests being made in downtown Albuquerque.
Follow reporters Shaun Griswold and Megan Abundis on ground: pic.twitter.com/es9NYGSLIZ
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) June 16, 2020
The following post includes the full video:
We just obtained video of the shooting. pic.twitter.com/yjB6NHdKe2
— Megan Abundis (@meganrabundis) June 16, 2020
If a mob follows someone, violently attacks him and screams that they're going to kill him, that person can fairly say that their life is in danger. In that situation, pulling out a gun and firing at the people attacking you is justified.
— John Hawkins (@johnhawkinsrwn) June 16, 2020
1. He was being attacked. He was attempting to retreat.
2. At least one of his pursuers, probably the one taking the video, shouts, “we are going to kill you!”
3. His attackers knock him on to the ground as he is attempting to retreat. (See number 2)
4. Bang bang bang.
— Syrah Shiraz (@Syrah_Shiraz) June 16, 2020