Morning Word

Fugitive Accused of Killing Police Officer Shot, Caught

City of Santa Fe shows off Santa Fe Airport as first phase of construction nears end

Law enforcement catch fugitive accused of killing officer

State police and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday announced the capture of Jaremy Smith, following a pursuit and officer-involved shooting in Albuquerque. The day prior, state police announced they had issued a warrant for Smith, 32, of Marion, South Carolina, and charged him with first-degree murder, armed robbery, shooting from a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence, felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and criminal damage to property, following the early Friday morning shooting of State Police Officer Justin Hare. According to a news release, Hare responded at approximately 5 am Friday morning to assist a motorist on Interstate 40, near milepost 318, whose white BMW had a flat tire and who was attempting to wave down other motorists. Police allege Smith shot Hare twice before pushing him into the passenger side of the vehicle and driving away in his police car. Hare was later found on the frontage road to Interstate 40 around milepost 312 and taken to the hospital, where he died from his injuries. Smith also has a criminal background in South Carolina and is a person of interest there in the murder of paramedic Phenesia Machado-Fore. In a joint news briefing yesterday between state police and BCSO, and in a news release, BCSO said Smith had been shot multiple times during pursuit after a store clerk at a Murphy gas station identified him and notified police. No officers were shot during the apprehension. “Yesterday we said that we would bring Jaremy Smith to justice,” State Police Chief Troy Weisler said during the news conference. “There was nowhere he could run. There was nowhere he could hide.” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, in a statement, called Smith’s capture “a major step toward justice for Officer Hare’s family. While it doesn’t bring Officer Hare back, it allows all New Mexicans to breathe a sigh of relief that a dangerous fugitive is off our streets. I again extend my deepest sympathies to Officer Hare’s family, friends and colleagues in law enforcement for their tragic loss. I hope the suspect’s capture brings some measure of comfort to them during this painful time.”

Baldwin wants Rust charges dismissed

ICYMI, Rust actor and producer Alec Baldwin late last week asked the First Judicial District Court to dismiss involuntary manslaughter charges against him stemming from the Oct. 21, 2021 fatal on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. His trial is set to begin July 10. The motion, the latest in Baldwin’s ongoing legal odyssey, follows the March 6 guilty verdict for armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed on the same charge. The latest motion from Baldwin’s attorneys recounts a litany of allegations involving the state’s behavior toward Baldwin, beginning with January 2023, “when the Wall Street Journal called Baldwin’s attorneys to inform them, for the first time, that Alec Baldwin was being prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter. Immediately after, the state announced the decision publicly and went on a viral press tour to tell the world that Baldwin was guilty and faced a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence.” The “unethical disparagement of Alec Baldwin was a sign of things to come,” the motion notes. The motion continues to recount First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies charging Baldwin with a firearm enhancement (which was later dropped) that had not yet been enacted at the time of the incident; special prosecutor and Clovis Republican state Rep. Andrea Reeb’s departure from the case after Baldwin’s lawyers said her presence violated the state constitution; and Special Prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis’ decision to refile charges against Baldwin more than two and a half years later. The crux of Baldwin’s motion, however, lies with allegations that the special prosecutors violated court orders as it related to the grand jury that indicted their client, including disclosing information about the grand jury proceedings—such as the date—to the press. They also refused to present most of the “significant exculpatory and favorable witnesses and documents” provided by Baldwin, the motion says, despite orders from the court to do so. “The state prosecutors have engaged in this misconduct—and publicly dragged Baldwin through the cesspool created by their improprieties—without any regard for the fact that serious criminal charges have been hanging over his head for two and a half years,” the motion reads. “Enough is enough.”

SFPS plans to rebuild EJ Martinez Elementary

At its meeting last week, Santa Fe Public School Board of Education directed its Community Review Committee to begin the process toward demolishing and rebuilding the 65-year-old school. The move comes nearly six months after the CRC received a dire report concerning the roofing system and overall maintenance of EJ Martinez. Starting in the 2024-2025 school year until renovations are complete, all programming for EJ Martinez will temporarily relocate to Chaparral Elementary, with the two schools operating as independent entities. The proposed rebuild will cost between $14 million to $18 million the district intends to put before voters via a 2025 general obligation bond. Five years ago, the school board struck down a previous proposal to close and consolidate EJ Martinez, Acequia Madre and Nava Elementary schools after parents petitioned to keep the schools open and packed school board meetings urging the board to reconsider the plan. Board member Kate Noble, who attended EJ Martinez as a child, said last week her support for the rebuild stems from what she’s heard in community conversations. “I’ve been here a long time and I have observed what the community, what the school, what the students, what the parents ask for, and they do ask for small schools in their community, and EJ is very beloved by many of us,” Noble said.

Flights of fancy

Phase one of the Santa Fe Regional Airport expansion continues (two years and counting), but the end is near, city officials said Saturday during a “sneak peek” of the new terminal, complete with a red carpet, music and refreshments. “This is such a significant achievement for the City of Santa Fe to move forward and to improve the experience for our residents and guests,” City Manager John Blair said during brief remarks at a podium stationed in front of art hanging on the back wall. “This airport is going to be getting better and better and better.” While a news release prior to the event said the room full of seating and natural light would serve as a new terminal, Blair tells SFR the space will eventually become baggage claim following the completion of the second phase of the renovation. However, Airport Manager James Harris says that plan could change. “I’m looking at alternatives because to me, this space is just too nice to be a baggage claim,” Harris says, adding that he is considering the creation of an events space which could bring new streams of revenue to the airport. “Who doesn’t want to get married at the airport with that backdrop?” he says, referring to the view of the runway and a backdrop of mountains.

Listen up

New Mexico In Focus delves into the rising costs of groceries, specifically considering a report ranking New Mexico in the top 10 for states with the most expensive food prices. In one segment, Senior Producer Lou DiVizio interviews retired New Mexico State University Economics Professor James Peach about why marketplace prices in New Mexico continue to rise. He also speaks with Roadrunner Food Bank Communications Director Sonya Warwick about how the rising cost of food impacts serving people in need.

A-listers coming to town

Feature film Eddington, which will be made in New Mexico, is attracting notice from national publications ranging from The Hollywood Reporter to American Songwriter. The state Film Office last week announced the movie, written and directed by College of Santa Fe alum and former Weekly Alibi film critic Ari Aster (Midsommer) and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone and Pedro Pascal, among others, will be filming in and around Santa Fe County, Albuquerque and Truth or Consequences starting this month. The film also is set in the state and “follows a small-town New Mexico sheriff with higher aspirations.” The production will employ more than 300 New Mexicans—230 crew members, 59 principal actors and 105 background talent—with a state news release estimating its economic impact at more than $52 million. The contemporary Western from A24 will be co-produced by Aster and Lars Knudsen, and feature Academy Award-winner Darius Khondji as photography director. Yellowstone actor Luke Grimes also will appear in the movie and recently spoke with People magazine about the release of his country album. While the film’s official synopsis remains minimal, Vulture magazine says “rumors since last summer” speculate “Eddington will be set in a fictional copper-mining town during the COVID-19 pandemic.” In addition, Vulture notes, World of Reel “previously reported that the film centers on a couple who run out of gas near Eddington and are initially greeted warmly. But when nightfall comes, the town turns into a nightmare.”

Come here. Alone.

The Points Guy includes Santa Fe in its 2024 update for the best spots for solo travel in the US. First its pitch on solo travel, which it describes as “one of life’s greatest adventures. Freedom, flexibility empowerment and reflection are just some of the reasons to plan a solo trip.” Sold. As for Santa Fe: The city has “long been a haven for solo travelers in search of spiritual fulfillment and ethereal natural wonders. Nestled beneath the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the sacred ruins, shrines, New Age institutes and yoga centers offer healing and enlightenment for those at a crossroads in life.” Plus: “Art lovers can spend a day perusing the galleries and artisan studios lining Canyon Road” before spending the night at the Santa Fe OperaFan Bolt, meanwhile—a site “targeted to fans of popular TV shows, films, music, video games, travel and geek culture” offers up a Roswell “bucket list.” Its tips extend beyond the usual UFO fare and include the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, described by the US Fish & Wildlife Service as “one of the most biologically significant wetland areas of the Pecos River watershed system,” offering a chance to view “26,000 sandhill cranes during fall migration or one of more than 100 species of dragonflies and damselflies dancing in the air,” among other creatures. Also on the animal tip, Roswell’s Spring River Zoo is free, includes 34 acres of parkland, a variety of desert-dwelling creatures and myriad family-friendly exhibits and activities.

The calm between the storms

The National Weather Service forecasts a warmer, drier day ahead, with mostly sunny skies, a high temperature near 53 degrees and northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south in the afternoon. We may see another round of precipitation mid-week.

Thanks for reading! If you loved the film American Fiction,The Word thinks you’ll extra-love this New Yorker profile of Percival Everett, on whose novel Erasure the film is based.

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