4 Dead And 1 Wounded In Navajo Nation Shooting, State GOP Eyes Legal Moves In US House Race

Nov 13, 2018

4 Dead, 1 Wounded In Apparent Murder-Suicide On Navajo NationAssociated Press

The FBI says four people are dead and a woman wounded after an apparent murder-suicide on the Navajo Nation in northwestern New Mexico.

They say one of the dead is the suspected shooter.

A spokesman for the FBI in Albuquerque says the incident occurred inside a residence Tuesday morning in the community of Tsayatoh, which is near the New Mexico-Arizona border.

Authorities say it appears the shooting was an act of domestic violence.

Autopsies are pending on the four adults who died.

The FBI says an adult woman was taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds.

The names of the four dead and the wounded woman were not immediately released.

The FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety are investigating the incident.

Police Say Shooter Used Forklift To Block DoorwayAssociated Press

Authorities say the suspect in a workplace shooting that injured three people used a forklift to block one of the doorways at the New Mexico food distribution warehouse where the shooting took place.

Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier said at a news conference Tuesday that it appeared 30-year-old Waid Anthony Melton had some issues with his employers and that investigators also were hearing about possible mental health concerns.

The chief said he could not speculate about a motive.

Melton fled after Monday night's shooting but authorities were able to make contact with him on his cell phone. Police say Melton was on the phone with a negotiator when he shot and killed himself in a remote location north of Albuquerque hours later.

The shooting happened on Melton's day off.

Two of the men who were shot at the Ben E. Keith warehouse remained in critical condition Tuesday. The other was in stable condition. Their identities weren't released.

Albuquerque Police Say Suspect In Warehouse Shooting Found Dead – Associated Press

Albuquerque police say the suspect in the shooting of three people at a food distribution warehouse in New Mexico's most populous city has been found dead.

Police said early Tuesday morning that 30-year-old Waid Anthony Melton was an employee at the business and that he was found dead near his vehicle on the northern outskirts of metro Albuquerque.

Police earlier identified Melton as the suspect in the Monday night shooting that left three people injured, including at least one hospitalized in critical condition. Their identities weren't released.

Police said the cause of Melton's death was under investigation and that no motive for the shooting at the Ben E. Keith warehouse was immediately known.

Melton's body was found near an Interstate 25 interchange in Placitas in Sandoval County.

New Mexico Lawmakers Weigh Criminal Justice ReformsAssociated Press

New Mexico lawmakers are reviewing proposed legislation aimed at reforming parts of the state's criminal justice system ahead of their session in January.

At a meeting in Albuquerque, about a half dozen lawmakers discussed the possibility of reintroducing past legislation that had failed to become law in the past, including a proposal to make changes to the state's costly parole system and creating a central, statewide database for crime information.

The meeting Tuesday comes as the state's prison population has increased, while nationwide figures show incarceration rates overall on the decline.

According to the Legislative Finance Committee, the number of men and women returning to New Mexico prisons within three years of their release also is increasing, and lawmakers say many are returning to prison on technical violations — such as failing to report for appointments with parole officers — versus committing new crimes.

New Mexico Attorney Suspended For 9 MonthsEastern New Mexico News, Associated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court has ordered that a state attorney's license be suspended.

The Eastern New Mexico News reports Portales attorney Eric Dixon has just under 30 days now to settle his pending cases or find them new counsel, following which he is forbidden to practice law in the state for no less than nine months.

Court records say Dixon also is required to complete 10 hours of "ethics continuing legal education classes" and within two months pay court expenses of $2,654.

Roosevelt County attorney Randy Knudson says he filed a claim against Dixon "for him breaching his responsibilities as a lawyer" by listing the wrong plaintiff on a civil suit against the county and not correcting his error.

Dixon could not be reached for comment.

New Mexico Election Leaves Few Checks On Democratic Power – Associated Press

New Mexico Democrats who won nearly unbridled power over state government in midterm elections will confront competing interests within their own ideologically diverse party, as the governor-elect and legislative leaders pursue change.

Reforms to raise the minimum wage, allow recreational marijuana or set five-figure pay increases for teachers no longer are seen as progressive pipe dreams, after Democrats expanded their legislative majority and swept elections for statewide office.

Democratic Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham said Monday she is already busy building legislative coalitions.

Conservative-minded Democrats still could stand in the way of gun control, solar energy incentives or efforts to tap state savings.

Democrats will control major state watchdog agencies for elections, campaigning, open records and public accounting. A voter-commissioned independent ethics commission should soon provide a check on misbehavior in government.

New Mexico GOP Eyes Legal Moves In US House RaceAssociated Press

The Republican Party of New Mexico says it is considering "legal recourses" over results that showed Democrat Xochitl Torres Small winning a U.S. House race in southern New Mexico.

Republican Party of New Mexico chairman Ryan Cangiolosi said in a statement Tuesday that the party is working with the campaign of Republican Yvette Herrell to review "concerning reports" from voters over Tuesday's election.

Cangiolosi did not give details on these reports.

Cangiolosi's comments come after Herrell told Fox News on Saturday there were "over 100 documented complaints" about voting irregularities. She didn't provide evidence and her campaign has not returned repeated voicemails, text messages and emails seeking details about her accusations.

The Associated Press called the race for Torres Small after the absentee ballots from Doña Ana County tallied Wednesday put her over the top.

Republican Not Conceding US House Race As Results Certified – By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

A key county certified results Tuesday of a closely watched U.S. House race in southern New Mexico showing Democrat Xochitl Torres Small defeating Republican Yvette Herrell.

But Herrell is refusing to concede and is alleging voting irregularities without providing evidence.

The Doña Ana County Canvassing Board voted unanimously to certify the results between Torres Small and Herrell following the last counting of provisional ballots. The Associated Press called the race for Torres Small after the absentee ballots tallied Wednesday put her over the top.

Herrell, 54, had declared victory on election night with early returns showing her in the lead and despite the high number of outstanding ballots in Doña Ana County — a Democratic stronghold.

On Saturday, Herrell told Fox News host there were "over 100 documented complaints" about voting irregularities in the race.

She didn't provide evidence and her spokesman has not returned repeated voicemails, text messages and emails.

Alex Curtas, a spokesman for the New Mexico secretary of state's office, said the department had not received any complaints about any irregularities.

Doña Ana County Finishes Tally Of Provisional Ballots – Associated Press

The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office says Doña Ana County has finished processing about 1,100 provisional and other ballots that needed to be tallied by hand.

The process wrapped up Sunday, nearly a week after the general election. The county's canvassing board plans to meet Tuesday to review the returns and certify the results.

The spotlight was on the county as it took nearly 24 hours after the polls closed last week to count thousands of absentee ballots that ended up deciding the race for southern New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District.

The Associated Press called the race for Democrat Xochitl Torres Small after the absentee ballots put her over the top. The unofficial results updated Monday expanded her lead.

Republican Yvette Herrell has not conceded. Her campaign did not immediately return messages left Monday.

New Mexico Weighs Options For Reusing Oil And Gas Wastewater - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

State and federal officials are warning that because drought is no stranger to New Mexico, decisions about water are growing ever more complicated.

The state, with the help of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has drafted a document that outlines areas where regulations can be streamlined to encourage the treatment and reuse of wastewater that comes from oil and natural gas operations.

The white paper released late last week says oil and gas production in New Mexico generated nearly 38 billion gallons of wastewater in 2017. As the energy sector grows, particularly in the Permian Basin along the Texas-New Mexico border, officials say so will the amount of wastewater.

State energy secretary Ken McQueen says the effort could help relieve the growing demand on the state's water resources.

New Mexico State University Focuses On Higher Ed Access – Associated Press

New Mexico State University is among 130 schools nationwide that are working together to increase access to higher education and close the achievement gap.

The university said Monday that it's participating in the program, which also aims to award more degrees by 2025. The effort is being organized by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

NMSU President John Floros says the program offers an opportunity for the university to share its findings and learn from others what works best for them.

The participating institutions reflect a wide array of institutional characteristics such as enrollment, student demographics and regional workforce needs.

Officials say the diversity is intended to help create a playbook of reforms that can be adapted to different types of institutions, including those with limited resources.