Some might say that it was bound to happen. Others, that the victim had incited it. Many might say that apparent political violence is getting too close to home here in Colorado.
On Thursday a Trump supporter wearing a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) red hat, pulled out a gun at a peaceful rally in Espanola, (Rio Arriba County) New Mexico, and shot someone. The rally was organized by Native American activists to celebrate the county’s postponement of putting back a statue of the war criminal and Spanish colonizer Juan de Oñate that officials had removed in 2020.
Protestors had placed an altar over the concrete slab where the statue had stood, and in New Mexico fashion, had draped it, placing candles, food, flowers, and messages on the altar.
After a prayer circle that morning, there were dozens milling around outside the closed Rio Arriba County building, eating lunch. Children were playing all across the courtyard of the county building.
Six counter-protestors who had been standing at the back behind those assembled for the news conference explaining the protest, approached the altar. In the ensuing scuffle, one of them pulled out a gun from his waistband and shot climate activist Jacob Johns. Johns is in stable in the emergency room shortly after the shooting.
The Albuquerque Journal identified the shooter as Ryan Martinez, a fervent Trump supporter. The Facebook profile the publication posted noted him wearing a “MAGA hat standing near a Tesla and, in another photo, with a handgun holstered in his pants.
The profile said he went to Los Lunas High School and the bio read, “(expletive) The Chinese Communist Party and (expletive) Joe Biden. TRUMP WON. (pre-law major).”