Farmington shooter left note
Farmington police continue to provide emerging details about the May 15 mass shooting, reporting yesterday during a news conference that 18-year-old Farmington High School student Beau Wilson wore a bullet-proof vest as he fired 141 rounds from an assault weapon. He also carried a note, which read: “If your reading this Im the end of the chapter.” As detailed by the Albuquerque Journal, Wilson, who had been scheduled to graduate from high school on Tuesday, also used a 9mm handgun and a .22-caliber firearm—owned by family members—after dropping the automatic rifle into the bushes. He ultimately fired more than 190 rounds, killing 79-year-old Shirley Voita; 97-year-old Gwendolyn Schofield; and Schofield’s daughter, 73-year-old Melody Ivie, and injuring six others, including two police officers. “It isn’t a nice contained scene where our officers are able to keep everything and count stuff pretty easily,” Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said yesterday. “It’s spreading throughout the neighborhood. He’s firing at different people, he’s firing at different cars and buildings as he’s walking, and then he begins discarding stuff.” Wilson’s note also says: “lay eyes or dear put a finger on my little sister I promise there will be regrets.” Hebbe says police have not learned of any precipitating event prior to the shooting, and continue to talk to the family about Wilson’s mental health. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said this week she intends in the next legislative session to once again pursue a ban on assault weapons, along with other gun-control laws.
Baldwin wraps on Rust set
Alec Baldwin wrapped his time on the Rust set this week, posting on Instagram a photo of himself in costume as his character, outlaw Harland Rust, alongside 14-year-old Patrick Scott McDermott, who is playing the role of Lucas Hollister in movie. “Last day on the set of RUST with this guy,” Baldwin posted. “A very talented actor and lovely young man with a bright future ahead.” In another post, a clean-shaven Baldwin notes: “God, it felt good to shave off that beard…” Rust resumed filming April 21 at Yellowstone Film Ranch in Montana, approximately 18 months after the on-set fatal shooting at Bonanza Ranch in Santa Fe of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Filming began as prosecutors announced they would be dropping involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin; the film’s former armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, still faces involuntary manslaughter charges. While Gutierrez-Reed did not return to the Rust set, Director Joel Souza, who also was shot when Baldwin’s gun fired, did resume his position. As part of a legal settlement with Baldwin and Rust Productions, Halyna Hutchins’ husband Matthew is serving as executive producer on the movie. As for when and how Rust will be viewed, that remains to be seen. In a story yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter reported Rust’s producers are trying to sell its international rights this week at the Cannes Film Festival marketplace. Producer Ryan Donnell Smith of Thomasville Pictures tells THR the decision to bring Rust into the marketplace followed discussions with Matthew Hutchins. As for Rust’s prospects: “This is an unprecedented film in regards to the circumstances. We’re trying to keep realistic expectations, but shepherd this in the best way we can.”
Disabled woman’s death prompts three arrests
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports three arrests yesterday in connection with the death of a 38-year-old disabled woman, whose abuse from a caregiver in a state-run program prompted the state’s ongoing investigation of development disabilities health care providers. Attorney General Raúl Torrez’s office charged the woman’s caretaker, Angelita Rene Chacon, 52, of Rio Rancho with five counts, including abuse or neglect of a resident resulting in death, a second-degree felony; her girlfriend Patricia Hurtado, 42, also of Rio Rancho, with four counts; and Luz Scott of Clovis with two counts. In a statement to the New Mexican, Torrez said “the abuse and neglect” the unidentified woman “endured was horrific and the injuries she sustained are among the worst I have seen in my career as a prosecutor.” Special agents from Torrez’s office, along with New Mexico State Police and the Rio Rancho Police Department, made the arrests yesterday; a 27-page affidavit filed by the Attorney General’s Office in Sandoval County Magistrate Court describes the horrifying injuries the woman suffered, which led the state to conduct wellness checks for all patients receiving services from the states’ Developmental Disabilities Waiver programs.
PED Secretary promises lawmakers outcomes
New Public Education Secretary Arsenio Romero this week laid out his plans for public education during the Legislative Education Study Committee’s two-day meeting at Bernalillo High School. His presentation included a recap of education-related legislation that passed during this year’s session: the healthy universal school meals; teacher vocational ed licensure track; school coach CPR and AED training; education assistance salary increase; menstrual products in school bathrooms (a student-led initiative); and extended learning time, about which Romero said: “I think we can all agree this is a good thing, when students have more time with teachers.” Goals for the 2024 session, he said, include: supports for special education; attendance improvements and dropout reduction; reduction in suspension and expulsion of students. “You are going to see outcomes, not just little outcomes,” Romero said—and noted that those outcomes will come soon: “If we do this work together, we will do it fast.”
NPR’s weekend edition recently featured KFF Health News’ report on maternity care telehealth’s impact in rural parts of Northeastern New Mexico—Clayton—where residents worry about losing a telehealth program whose federal funding is slated to end this August. According to the story, more than 760 mothers in the region have used the program for medical care, with 57% of the women identifying as Hispanic and 5% as Indigenous.
NM for all
“Boutique lifestyle magazine” Artful Living gives Santa Fe the boutique-lifestyle treatment in a “city guide” that directs visitors to a small selection of top-end experiences, including a stay at Inn of the Five Graces; meals at Restaurant Martin and Geronimo; and, of course, gallery hopping on Canyon Road and/or with help from a personal art concierge (plus shopping, of course). Travelers in search of a less extravagant New Mexico vacation may find ideas from Linda Lange and Steve Ahillen’s travel story for the Knoxville News Sentinel, in which a trip to the state’s southern side includes encounters with a space chimp (Ham’s gravesite outside Alamogordo’s New Mexico Museum of Space History); extraterrestrials (Roswell; not actual ones) and massive stalactites (Carlsbad Caverns), amongst other natural wonders. “We stumbled upon many surprises while visiting southern New Mexico,” Lange and Ahillen write. “Beauty was the one constant” (the story includes a lifestyle). By the way, neither Santa Fe nor any of New Mexico’s southern cities made WalletHub’s recent list of the 100 best summer travel destinations for getting “the most bang for the buck,” but Albuquerque came in at #57. And Outside Online’s 2023 travel awards, which delineate the 36 best US destinations for adventures, include a shout-out for Lamy’s Kitfox, a runner-up in the glamping category, specifically its Dine in the Wild weekends. Taos Ski Valley won for the ski category.
NPS seeks Valles Caldera feedback
The National Park Service will be holding open houses May 22 to May 24 in Española, Bernalillo and Jemez Pueblo to seek public feedback on “preliminary management ideas and concepts under consideration” for the Valles Caldera National Preserve. A public engagement process continues through June 9, during which the agency also will take written comments. “Valles Caldera is still in its infancy as a unit of the national park system, and there is a lot of work to be done to create a quality national park experience that honors the place as well as the passions of the people who cherish it,” NPS Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos said in a statement. “This is a critical step in making that experience a reality and will allow the park to make needed improvements and protect the values that make this landscape unique and inspiring.” The public can submit comments through the project webpage, which is available in both English and Spanish. NPS says it is particularly interested in hearing from the public on how the various concepts under consideration would help or hinder the public’s experience; possible activities or experiences that would be enjoyable and ones that are missing and should be considered; and specific actions NPS could take to improve experiences or protect resources at specific areas in the Valles Caldera.
The National Weather Service once again forecasts a chance for rain today—a 70% likelihood—with showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 3 pm, and slightly decreased chances for more this evening before 9 pm. Otherwise, today will be partly sunny, with a high temperature near 70 degrees; north wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. Rain notwithstanding, the City of Santa Fe’s Water Conservation Office yesterday posted a reminder that time-of-day water restrictions, which bar outside watering between 10 am and 6 pm and limit outside watering to no more than three times a week, went into effect May 1 and remain in place through October.
Thanks for reading! The Word has added several of the most recent New Yorker book recommendations onto her “to read” list.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story has been updated to correct the age of the victim in the AG’s case.