The New Mexico Republican Party pointed a finger at the state’s “softer penalties for violent offenders” after a gunman opened fire in Farmington, killing three people and wounding seven others.
According to an Associated Press (AP) report, police responded to multiple reports of gunshots Monday morning on a residential street. Responding officers confronted the suspect, 18, upon arrival and fatally shot him, the AP reported, citing Farmington Deputy Police Chief Baric Crum. The three fatalities were also found at the scene.
Seven other victims were transported to the San Juan Regional Medical Center, according to the report, including two police officers, one from Farmington and the other from the state force. The officers were in stable condition as of Monday afternoon, Crum said during a news conference.
Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said during A video statement Monday night that the shooting appeared to be “purely random,” adding that the shooter, an 18-year-old male, walked about a quarter-mile through a residential neighborhood and “shot at whatever that went into his head to shoot at.”
“There were no schools, no churches, no people attacked during the course of the event,” Hebbe said in the video posted on the department’s Facebook page. “At least six houses and three cars were shot at in the course of the event.”
Hebbe also said the gunman fired at least three different weapons, including an AR-style rifle. news week has contacted the Farmington Police Department via email for more information.
New Mexico Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham described the shooting as “tragic violence” in a statement posted to her Twitter account Monday, adding that she was “praying for the families of the victims, the injured and the entire community. of Farmington after this horrific tragedy. .”
“I’m also grateful for the quick response from the police,” Grisham continued. “My administration will not stop fighting the epidemic of gun violence from every possible angle.”
The Republican Party of New Mexico (RPNM), however, released a statement Monday night, stating that the state was “experiencing an unprecedented crime crisis that intensifies each year with lighter penalties for violent offenders.”
“Every New Mexico community deserves to feel safe, unfortunately our leaders want to continue to embolden criminals but at the same time leave responsible citizens defenseless,” RPNM continued.
Republicans across the country have vowed to fight rising crime rates, blaming Democratic-controlled cities and states for failing to take a “tough on crime” stance. In some cases, crime rates have swayed Americans to move out of Democratic-led areas, and data compiled by the US Census Bureau found rapid population growth in 2022 in some one of the most republican states in the country.
According to data collected by wise voter, New Mexico ranks third in the United States for violent crime, with a rate of 778.3 incidents per 100,000 residents. Presenting the most recent 2020 data available, the report included the District of Columbia, which ranks first overall with the highest per capita rate, with 999.8 incidents per 100,000 residents. Alaska ranks second, with 837.8 per 100,000 people.
Grisham previously called for a bipartisan effort to address New Mexico’s rising violent crime rate, telling reporters at a news conference in January: “Our first responders and police officers are not safe in this climate,” according to a report from he Albuquerque Journal.
The New Mexico Democratic Party, however, issued a statement after Monday’s shooting that focused on gun control, he wrote: “Once again, we see how the pervasiveness of gun violence threatens all communities.”
“As Democrats, we will continue to work toward common sense gun safety reform that confronts our nation’s epidemic of gun violence to make neighborhoods safer in New Mexico and across the country,” the statement continued.