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THURS: Videos show gunman saying 'kill me' to rushing officers in NM rampage that killed 3, + More

Investigators work along a residential street following a deadly shooting Monday, May 15, 2023, in Farmington, N.M. Authorities said an 18-year-old opened fire in the northwestern New Mexico community, killing multiple people and injuring others, before law enforcement fatally shot the suspect.
Susan Montoya Bryan
Investigators work along a residential street following a deadly shooting Monday, May 15, 2023, in Farmington, N.M. Authorities said an 18-year-old opened fire in the northwestern New Mexico community, killing multiple people and injuring others, before law enforcement fatally shot the suspect.

Videos show gunman saying 'kill me' to rushing officers in New Mexico rampage that killed 3 - By Morgan Lee And Anita Snow Associated Press

Videos released by police Thursday of this week's deadly rampage in New Mexico recorded a voice said to be the shooter urging police to "kill me" and officers rushing toward the 18-year-old gunman before fatally shooting him outside a church.

"He is yelling on the Ring footage, 'Come kill me,'" Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said of Beau Wilson, the high school senior who authorities say killed three older women during the attack.

"He's making a stand, he has opportunities to run off, he does not use those opportunities," Hebbe said. "So yes it's my belief that ultimately in his head, he has made the decision that he is going to stand and fight it out until he is killed."

At least six other people were wounded in Monday's shootings, which sent waves of grief rippling through Farmington, a community of 50,000 people in the state's northwest. The wounded included two police officers, who have been released from medical care as they recover.

Slain by the shooter were longtime Farmington residents Gwendolyn Schofield, 97, her 73-year-old daughter, Melody Ivie, and 79-year-old Shirley Voita.

Hebbe's comments mirrored previous statements from witness Candi Brammell, who lives next to the church and told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that the gunman seemed to be egging police on, telling them: "Come on!"

Brammell said she couldn't believe what she was seeing as Wilson opened fire. Within an instant, he was exchanging shots with the police and then was down in the grass.

Wilson lived with his father in a home that contained an arsenal of weapons and ammunition that appeared to be legally owned, according to law enforcement authorities. He bought an assault-style rifle last year after he turned 18.

On Monday, police say, he began shooting indiscriminately with the AR-15 from the front porch area of the home, but quickly dropped the weapon into some bushes even though it still held more live ammunition.

Wilson then walked down the street for about a quarter mile, spraying bullets indiscriminately using two pistols. He discharged a .22-caliber gun and then depleted rounds from a 9-mm weapon in the final shootout with police, during which he let off at least 18 rounds.

He wore what appeared to be a modified protective vest with steel plates, but authorities say he discarded the vest before the shootout with police.

A note was found in his pocket that said, "If your reading this im the end of the chapter."

Efforts were underway by authorities to access medical and school records that might shed light on Wilson's mental history.

New Mexico enacted a so-called red flag law in 2020 that can be used to seize guns from people who pose a danger to themselves or others. Judicial records show the Farmington Police Department has petitioned successfully for the removal of guns in other instances, most recently in February.

Police have been probing for motivations behind the deadly attack by Beau Wilson on Monday, the day before he was due to graduate from high school, amid some indications from relatives of prior mental health issues.

Located near the Four Corners where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado meet, Farmington is a supply line and bedroom community to the region's oil and natural gas industry.

New Mexico authorities describe caregivers' torture of disabled woman who died - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

"Torture" is how New Mexico's top prosecutor describes the treatment a 38-year-old developmentally disabled woman endured before her death at the hands of her caregivers, who he said were paid thousands of dollars a month through a special program meant to offer an alternative to institutional care.

Attorney General Raúl Torrez detailed the woman's injuries during a news conference Thursday, saying she died after being found in the back of a van as the caregivers tried to take her to Mexico so her wounds could be treated.

"The abuse and neglect that she endured was horrific and the injuries she sustained are among the worst I have seen in my career as a prosecutor," Torrez said. "This was torture. There's really no other word for it."

Three people were arrested and charged Wednesday with abuse and neglect following an investigation that began with the stop at the U.S.-Mexico border in April.

The case spurred a statewide review of New Mexico's entire developmentally disabled waiver system. Social workers spent weeks conducting individual wellness checks on thousands of developmentally disabled people who receive care through the federally-funded waiver program.

More allegations of possible abuse and neglect were turned up, and the state Health Department canceled contracts with four providers in the Albuquerque area.

An affidavit filed by the Attorney General's Office details the abuse that resulted in the charges filed Wednesday against Angelita Rene Chacon, 52, and Patricia Hurtado, 42, both of Rio Rancho. They face counts of abuse or neglect of a resident resulting in death.

Luz Scott of Clovis, an acquaintance of the women, has been charged with false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit false imprisonment.

It wasn't immediately clear Thursday if any of the suspects had a lawyer yet.

According to the attorney general's office, Chacon and Hurtado contracted with At Home Advocacy and three other contractors to provide supplemental care for the victim. They were receiving about $5,000 a month under the waiver program to care for her.

Prosecutors say a preliminary review of available business records indicate that At Home Advocacy received nearly $250,000 to coordinate care and support for the victim in the three years before her death.

Records show the company last visited the home on Jan. 25, one month before the victim was found at the port of entry in El Paso.

According to court records, a supervisor with At Home Advocacy told FBI agents the company conducted monthly wellness visits at Chacon's home but that "body checks" were not conducted during those visits and that no injuries were seen.

Authorities said the woman who died was severely dehydrated and drugged when she was found in the van. She also had numerous open wounds, bedsores with exposed bone and bruises and lacerations on various parts of her body.

They also described marks consistent with being restrained for a prolonged period of time.

Unable to speak when discovered by federal agents at the border crossing, she was transported to University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, where she died on April 7, 2023. The Associated Press generally does not name people who have been abused.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and top health officials had warned that any caregivers who mistreat and abuse developmentally disabled or otherwise vulnerable people would be held accountable.

Republican legislative leaders also requested that the federal government investigate, saying an independent inquiry would ensure transparency and might prevent such cases in the future.


Associated Press writer Walter Berry in Phoenix contributed to this report.

US greenlights major transmission line for renewable energy in Western states - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

The U.S. government is greenlighting a proposed multibillion-dollar transmission line that would send primarily wind-generated electricity from the rural plains of New Mexico to big cities in the West.

The Interior Department announced its record of decision for the SunZia project Thursday. It comes about a year after an environmental review was completed as part of a broader effort by the Biden administration to clear the way for major transmission projects as it looks to meet climate goals and shore up the nation's power grid.

The SunZia transmission project in New Mexico has been more than a decade in the making. The U.S. Defense Department and others initially raised concerns about the path of the high-voltage lines, prompting the developer to submit a new application in 2021 to modify the route.

New Mexico's renewable energy authority is among those invested in the SunZia project, which would include roughly 520 miles of transmission lines and a network of substations for getting wind and solar power to Arizona and California.

The anchor tenant is California-based Pattern Energy, which has been busy building massive wind farms in central New Mexico.

Federal land managers said they completed the latest review in less than two years.

"The Department of the Interior is committed to expanding clean energy development to address climate change, enhance America's energy security and provide for good-paying union jobs," Laura Daniel-Davis, principal deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management, said in a statement.

The Bureau of Land Management has approved nearly three dozen renewable energy and grid improvement projects since 2021. Included are solar and geothermal projects that officials said would be capable of producing enough electricity to power more than 2.6 million homes.

More than 150 applications for solar and wind development are still in the agency's queue, official said.

Land managers also are reviewing two other major transmission projects that would funnel electricity generated from renewable sources in remote spots to large western markets. One would run through seven counties from Las Vegas to Reno, Nevada, and the other would stretch between central Utah and east-central Nevada.

Pattern Energy announced Monday that it signed long-term purchase agreements with Shell Energy North America and the University of California for a portion of the electricity that will be flowing through SunZia.

Construction is expected to start later this year. It will be about three years until the line begins delivering power, the company said.

Pattern CEO Hunter Armistead has said SunZia will be able to tap "some of the best wind in the world." He explained that the wind farms in New Mexico have a wind generation profile with an evening peak that will complement daytime solar generation elsewhere.

APD nears ‘full compliance’ for federally mandated reforms, report finds - Albuquerque Journal, KUNM News

The Albuquerque Police Department is nearing full compliance with federally mandated reforms stemming from an explosion of deadly use-of-force cases.

As the Albuquerque Journal reports, the 17th installment of the Independent Monitor’s Report covered from last August through the end of January. It found APD was only 3 percentage points from full compliance with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement.

The Albuquerque Police Department finished revising its use-of-force policies back in January and officers began training on the new policies over the following quarter.

City leaders anticipated the changes would result in fewer shootings by officers since they should have a better sense of when they can use less-lethal force rather than deadly force.

Some options of less-lethal force include stun guns, beanbag shotguns, 40-millimeter impact launchers or using canines.

Virgin Galactic plans a flight for May, says more to follow from Spaceport - Danielle Prokop, Source New Mexico 

Virgin Galactic announced Wednesday a flight window opens next week for its crewed spaceflight from Spaceport America outside Truth and Consequences. The five-personcrew includes a Las Cruces woman, Jamila Gilbert.

According to the announcement on the company’s website, the crew will begin training next week, before the Thursday, May 25 flight window.

On a May 9earnings call with investors, Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said the company is on track to start commercial flights from the New Mexico spaceport this summer.

“We will be opening access to space, applying scientific researchers and civilian astronauts on a regular basis, beginning with our Galactic 01 flight planned for late June,” he said.

The flight planned for June will be a research mission with members of the Italian Air Force, first announced for September 2021.

In the earnings call, Colglazier said the company will expect to reopen ticket sales to the public after flights resume. He told investors that there have been “minimal cancellations” from the more than 800 tickets bought over the years.

In related news, officials announced that the next board meeting for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority is Wednesday, May 24. The meeting, scheduled for 2 p.m. will be over video conference. Further details, like how to log on, will be released with the agenda. By law, an agenda will need to be posted Friday, May 19.

In Cannes, 'Rust' is looking for buyers and Alec Baldwin has a new project - The Associated Press 

A year and a half after the fatal shooting of its cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, the Alec Baldwin Western "Rust" is back on the market at the Cannes Film Festival, shopping for international buyers.

Last month, "Rust" resumed shooting in Montana to finish the independently financed production that shut down following Hutchins' death in October 2021. Matthew Hutchins, her widower, is serving as an executive producer on the film as part of a settlement over a wrongful death lawsuit.

The Cannes film market, which is in centered in the Palais des Festivals but has no relation to the official festival lineup, is where "Rust" was first formed as a production in 2000. Goodfellas, a sales company formerly known as Wild Bunch International, is handling sales.

"Rust" still lacks North American distribution.

New Mexico prosecutors dropped criminal charges against Baldwin in April. Involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin were abandoned three weeks after a new prosecutor team took over the case, though the same charge currently remains for weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. Assistant director David Halls has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.

Now, producers are seeking buyers for a film synonymous with Hutchins' on-set death. Director Joel Souza was also wounded.

"This is an unprecedented film in regards to the circumstances," producer Ryan Donnell Smith told The Hollywood Reporter. "We're trying to keep realistic expectations but shepherd this in the best way we can."

Baldwin, though, has booked another film circulating the Cannes market. The actor is to join the cast of "Kent State," a dramatization of the 1970 killing of four students by the National Guard protesting the Vietnam War on the Ohio college campus. In the film, written and to be directed by Karen Slade, Baldwin is to play Robert I. White, Kent State's then president.

New Mexico gunman who killed 3 wore bulletproof vest, left note - By Morgan Lee and Rio Yamat Associated Press

A high school student who killed three women in northwestern New Mexico with an indiscriminate spray of gunfire left a cryptic note presaging "the end of the chapter" and wore a bulletproof vest that he discarded before being shot to death by police, authorities said Wednesday.

Police added new details to the profile of the lone gunman and the weaponry he used as he walked through his residential neighborhood before being confronted by officers and fatally shot outside a church. The shooter discharged more than 190 rounds during the rampage, according to authorities, most of them from the home he shared with his father.

Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said in a news conference that 18-year-old Beau Wilson was wearing what appeared to be a modified vest with steel plates and that the note was found in his pocket. Handwritten in green lettering, the message said in part, "if your reading this im the end of the chapter."

Wilson began shooting with an AR-15 rifle just outside his home, from the front porch area, but quickly dropped that into some bushes even though it still held more live ammunition, police said.

The gunman continued firing with two pistols, discarding a .22-caliber gun and then depleting rounds from a 9-mm handgun in the final shootout with police, during which he let off at least 18 rounds.

Slain by the shooter were longtime Farmington residents Gwendolyn Schofield, 97, her 73-year-old daughter, Melody Ivie, and 79-year-old Shirley Voita, police said.

The women were well known in the community, in part through participation in faith-based groups. Ivie ran a preschool for four decades that was attended by several generations of residents.

Those wounded in the attack include Farmington police Sgt. Rachel Discenza and New Mexico State Police Officer Andreas Stamatiadas. The officers were treated at a local hospital and released.

Police are probing Wilson's access to weapons and concerns about his prior mental health, and efforts are underway to subpoena medical and school records that might shed light on any issues.

"We have been talking with family members and trying to do more investigation into his mental health that appears to — early on — to be a factor," Hebbe said.

At the same time, Hebbe said, "there did not appear to be significant indications that ... something was going to happen that day."

New Mexico enacted a so-called red flag law in 2020 that can be used to seize guns from people who pose a danger to themselves or others. Judicial records show the Farmington Police Department has petitioned successfully for the removal of guns in other instances, most recently in February.

In November, after he turned 18, Wilson legally purchased the assault-style weapon used Monday, according to police. They believe two of the three weapons he carried were owned by relatives.

Two days before the attack, Wilson purchased additional ammunition magazines, police said.

Authorities said it appears he shot indiscriminately at vehicles, and bullets struck 11 of them along with seven homes.

Additional weapons and ammunition were found at the home Wilson shared with his father, but Hebbe said he did not appear to have organized those before he left the house. The suspect had access to over 1,400 rounds of ammunition and 10 other weapons at the time of the attack.

"He planned to use the three weapons he had," Hebbe said, "and he went outside and he did just that."

Police say evidence shows that at least 176 rounds were fired by Wilson from an assault rifle near his house at the outset of the rampage.

A community vigil was planned for Wednesday night at the Farmington Museum, the latest in a series of gatherings to remember and mourn victims of the shooting.

Wilson was a senior at Farmington High School and had been scheduled to graduate the next day.

At the school's commencement ceremony Tuesday, speakers talked of resilience and hope.

A chair was left empty with a bouquet of white roses "in memory of those we lost throughout the years," school district spokesperson Roberto Taboada said.

NM governor and lawmakers say they’ll keep pushing for stricter guns laws after Farmington shootingAlbuquerque Journal, KUNM News

In the wake of Monday’s shooting in Farmington that killed 3 and wounded 6, including two law enforcement officers, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Democratic state lawmakers say they’ll follow up on enacting stricter gun laws in the state.

Police say Monday’s attack on a Farmington neighborhood was executed by an 18-year-old wielding a long gun he purchased, along with two other guns owned by a family member. Now, Lujan Grishamtells the Albuquerque Journal that she wants to see the Legislature pass both a ban on assault-style weapons and age restrictions on firearm purchases.

Bills to enact both regulations had failed to reach her desk in this year’s legislative session.

Additionally, the governor told the Journal that the state will roll out an initiative next week to tackle the trafficking of firearms in the state.

Lujan Grisham acknowledged that there is no singular solution for the country and state’s gun violence crisis, noting “I don’t know of a tool that prevents all tragedies.”

She said she plans to attend tonight’s vigil at the Farmington Museum and may meet with the families of the victims and shooter to “help the state’s grieving process.”

Meanwhile, the Journal reports Democratic Rep. Andrea Romero said she’s working to revise the ban on assault-style weapons that failed to pass this year and would like to again pursue a measure to institute a waiting period for gun purchases.

Fewer Venezuelan arrivals lead to drop in illegal entries to US after pandemic asylum limits - By Elliot Spagat Associated Press

A 98% drop in Venezuelans arriving at the U.S. southern border has help lead to a steep decline in migrants crossing illegally from Mexico since pandemic-related asylum limits expired last week, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The Border Patrol has stopped migrants an average of 4,400 times a day since Friday, when a public-health rule known as Title 42 ended. The average includes the less than 4,000 migrants each of the last two days, said Blas Nuñez-Neto, assistant homeland security secretary for border and immigration policy. That's down from a daily average of more than 10,000 in the four days leading to the end of Title 42.

"We continue to see encouraging signs that the measures we have put in place are working," Nuñez-Neto told reporters, adding on a cautious note, "It is still too soon to draw any firm conclusions here about where these trends will go in the coming days and weeks."

April figures released Wednesday further illustrate how Venezuelans drove much of the rush to the border in the waning days of Title 42. Authorities stopped Venezuelans crossing illegally nearly 30,000 times during the month, up nine times from March.

The Biden administration has been promoting a carrot-and-stick strategy that couples new legal pathways to the U.S. with consequences for those who don't use them.

In the days leading up to the end of Title 42, the Border Patrol stopped 2,400 Venezuelans daily, followed by 1,900 Mexicans and 1,400 Colombians, Nuñez-Neto said. After Title 42, Mexicans replaced Venezuelans as the top nationality at 1,000 a day, followed by 510 Colombians and 470 Guatemalans. The number of Venezuelans plummeted to 50.

There are "early promising signs" that migration through Panama's notoriously dangerous Darien Gap is falling, Nuñez-Neto said.

Migration from Venezuela also plunged in October after Mexico began taking back people from the South American country who were expelled from the U.S. under Title 42, which denied asylum on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19. But Venezuelans began arriving again in large numbers just before Title 42 expired, walking for days through Panama.

The U.S. has been sent back "thousands" of Venezuelans, Cubans and Nicaraguans to Mexico under a new policy, in effect since Friday, that denies asylum to anyone who travels through another country, like Mexico, to cross the U.S. border illegally, with few exceptions, Nuñez-Neto said.

The new legal pathways include allowing up to 30,000 Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans to enter the U.S. monthly if they apply online with a financial sponsor and arrive by plane. Figures released Wednesday show all four nationalities took advantage of the parole offer in April but, among the four, only Venezuelans also crossed the border illegally in historically large numbers, second only to Mexicans.

The Border Patrol stopped migrants of all nationalities 182,114 times in April, up 12% from March but down 11% from the same period last year.

The U.S. has also been admitting 1,000 people a day at land crossings with Mexico if they apply in northern Mexico on a mobile app called CBPOne. Nuñez-Neto said the number allowed on the mobile app will increase soon but did not say when or by how much.

So far, President Joe Biden's warnings that the border will be "chaotic for a while" have not unfolded as some thought, with numbers one about one-third of the government's high-end estimates.

The Border Patrol had more than 28,000 people in custody last week, doubling in two weeks and prompting the agency to release thousands without notices to appear in immigration court. They were instead given notices to report to an immigration office within 60 days, drastically cutting down on processing time and allowing agents to open space in holding facilities.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Florida extended his order, first issued last week, to prohibit the quick releases. Nuñez-Neto reiterated the administration's disagreement with the court order Wednesday, while acknowledging that fewer crossings have eased custody conditions. On Sunday, the Border Patrol had 22,259 people in custody, down 23% from four days earlier.

Mississippi sends National Guard to US-Mexico border, GOP governor says - Associated Press

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Wednesday that he has mobilized a National Guard unit to help with security at the U.S. border with Mexico.

"What happens at the border doesn't stay there. Drugs and people are trafficked to every state in the nation — including Mississippi," Reeves, a Republican, wrote on Twitter. "To keep Mississippians safe and limit the impact of our nation's open borders, the Mississippi National Guard's 112th Military Police Battalion has been mobilized and is supporting Customs and Border Protection officers and agents along the Southwest border."

Reeves' announcement came a day after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he planned to send more than 1,100 National Guard soldiers and law enforcement officers to Texas to assist with border security between the U.S. and Mexico. DeSantis is expected to announce that he's running for president.

Mississippi does not share a border with Mexico, but Reeves blamed President Joe Biden's administration for people and drugs crossing the border without authorization.

"Every state has become a border state," wrote Reeves, who is seeking reelection this year.