The more serious of the charges have been dropped for the man identified as Steven Ray Baca Jr., who was the shooter at a recent statue protest held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
On Monday, June 15th, 2020, Baca attended a local demonstration in a part of Albuquerque, known as Old Town, where he assaulted a female protester who still has not been identified, before shooting 39-year-old, Scott Williams.
Williams fortunately survived and is recovering; he has also announced his intention to file suit on his behalf and asking county agencies that evidence be preserved. It is unclear if this was sparked before or after the charges were dropped.
A few dozen people had gathered in protest of a statue located in the historic district, which gives homage to the 16th-century Spanish explorer, Juan de Oñate. Who also went on to become Governor of New Mexico.
With the recent movement across the United States against statues that gives tribute to figures in history who may have committed atrocities by today’s standards, the erect figure of Juan de Oñate needed to “come down,” as preached by those that attended.
Oñate is also known to have ordered the feet cut off of for 24 captive tribal warriors. The protest against these statues came just a few weeks after the initial nationwide demonstrations against police brutality.
This was due to the gruesome and public murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man killed by a Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on George’s neck for several minutes. In that case, all involved officers were arrested and charged.
In a series of videos that were widely shared throughout social media platforms, and even covered by numerous online media sources, including in our JTHshow Podcast, Baca can be seen shoving protesters, pushing a woman to the ground, and also the entire shooting event.
Baca, 31, a formerly discharged Air National Guard and a 2019 city council candidate, was released by Second Judicial District Judge Charles Brown.
Judge Brown said in a statement that, “I’m going to find that the defendant may be a danger to the community,” and also added, “However, the state completely fails on the second prong of the analysis as to whether or not there are any conditions which would reasonably protect the community.” As reported by the Albuquerque Journal.
Currently, Baca’s conditional release requires him to report to Pretrial Services, cannot possess firearms, and cannot go to any protests while the charges are pending. Baca was charged with one count of aggravated battery, a felony, for the assault against the unidentified woman.
Although Baca has had some of his charges dropped, he also faces two counts of misdemeanor battery and one misdemeanor count of unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon. Baca did not have a concealed carry permit at the time of the shooting. He is also facing charges for that.
Many people online have expressed their great discontent with District Attorney, Raúl Torrez, for the decision to drop the charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. The District Attorney had concerns with the way the Albuquerque Police Department handled the investigation; however, it does appear that Torrez said Baca could still be charged in the shooting.
At the same protest, armed members of the New Mexico Civil Guard also attended and were present during the shootout incident. However, they have stated on their Facebook page, Tuesday, that Baca is not a member, and that their men held him at gunpoint until police arrived.