Governor Removes Public Education Secretary, Family Says Woman Shot By Deputies Had Mental Illness

Jul 23, 2019

New Mexico Deputies Fatally Shoot Woman Near Albuquerque – Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The family of a woman fatally shot Sunday by Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputies says she seemed to be suffering from psychosis or possibly schizophrenia.

The Albuquerque Journal reported authorities did not name the woman, but her family identified her as Elisha Lucero. Undersheriff Rudy Mora told reporters early Monday the woman was shot after she jumped out of an RV and "aggressively approached" the deputies. Mora says she was armed but it's unclear what type of weapon she held.

Leroy Lucero, a cousin, told the Journal he called deputies late Sunday night to the family home in the South Valley because Elisha Lucero had hit a family member. He said he told authorities she needed help and was not armed, but she refused to leave the RV.

Elisha Lucero’s sister, Elaine Maestas, said Lucero had become paranoid over the last year after having a tumor removed from her skull and experienced hallucinations.

The shooting is being investigated by a multi-agency task force.

Wife Of Candidate Joe Biden To Raise Money In New MexicoAssociated Press

The wife of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is scheduled to visit New Mexico for a campaign fundraising events.

The campaign said Jill Biden plans to attend fundraising events on Friday in Santa Fe and Saturday in Albuquerque. Further details were unavailable.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton narrowly edged out Bernie Sanders in New Mexico's Democratic presidential primary and went on to beat Donald Trump in the state's general election by 9 percentage points.

Campaign Videos Serve As Backdrop To State WebsitesAssociated Press

Webpages for two independent state agencies are blurring the lines between governance and politicking by using video footage from campaign ads as a backdrop for information about government services.

On the State Land Office website, agency chief Stephanie Garcia Richard runs along the rim of a vast desert canyon in video images from a political ad paid for by her campaign committee.

Agency spokeswoman Angie Poss on Tuesday said no state money was used in the video's production and that it also shows landscapes, industries and interests that affect work at the agency.

The backsplash for the Office of the State Auditor's home page is the same video footage from a 2018 campaign ad for State Auditor Brian Colón that was paid for by his campaign committee.

Albuquerque Plans Shift From In-State Police RecruitmentAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller says the city will shift police recruitment efforts away from targeting officers in other departments in the state.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Monday that the city aims to now attract 100 new recruits each year from schools and other states instead of luring officers from New Mexico cities that pay less.

Albuquerque hired several officers last year from nearby departments, including the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office, the Rio Rancho Police Department and the Santa Fe Police Department.

Spokeswoman Jessie Damazyn says lateral recruiting was always part of the plan, but the city is now in a better position to look outside the state.

New Mexico Governor Removes Public Education Secretary - Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has removed the head of the state's Public Education Department while expressing dissatisfaction with efforts to implement sweeping education reforms.

Lujan Grisham spokesman Tripp Stelnicki said Monday that Karen Trujillo had been dismissed nearly six months after her appointment as Cabinet secretary for public education.

Trujillo was tapped in January to carry out the governor's agenda for education reforms that include a new system for evaluating teacher performance, along with a major increase in spending on public schools and at-risk students.

A nationwide search is being launched to find a successor.

A district court ruled last year that the state was failing to provide children an adequate education, especially when it comes to students from poor and minority households.

New Mexico To Get $2.3M In Equifax Data Breach SettlementAssociated Press

New Mexico will receive more than $2 million as part of a settlement between Equifax and the U.S. government over a massive 2017 data breach.

Attorney General Hector Balderas' office announced in a news release Monday that New Mexico residents are among consumers who will receive restitution.

The $700 million settlement includes up to $425 million for consumers and $175 million for various states.

The company will also extend credit monitoring services for 10 years for impacted consumers.

The breach was one of the largest ever to threaten private information including Social Security and other data on nearly 150 million people.

It is estimated 860,000 of them live in New Mexico.

The consumer reporting agency, based in Atlanta, did not detect the attack for more than six weeks.

Senate Candidate Reads Mueller Report Aloud From Kitchen Associated Press

A Democratic contender for U.S. Senate is reading aloud special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to highlight her support for immediate impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Monday read the report from her home kitchen table for a social media broadcast, in anticipation of Mueller's scheduled testimony this week before Congress.

Campaign spokeswoman Heather Brewer said Toulouse Oliver would spend about seven hours reading aloud the second of two volumes from the report that focuses on obstruction of justice.

Toulouse Oliver is competing with U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján for the Democratic nomination in 2020 to succeed Sen. Tom Udall as he retires. Luján has resisted attempts to begin impeachment before additional evidence is collected.

Navajo Nation Wants Feds To Address Opioid RiskAssociated Press

Navajo Nation leaders are troubled by a federal audit that found government hospitals have put Native American patients more at risk for opioid abuse and overdoses.

President Jonathan Nez, who leads the country's largest Native American reservation, said Monday the findings are "very concerning."

He says his administration plans to reach out to Indian Health Service officials and Congress to ensure the matter is addressed.

The report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General asserts five hospitals failed to follow the agency's protocols for prescribing and dispensing drugs.

The Navajo Nation is among several tribes, local governments and other agencies suing pharmaceutical companies and drug distributors over the opioid crisis.

The tribe has said American Indians suffer disproportionately from opioid dependency or abuse.

Troubled New Mexico City Faces Racial Discrimination Lawsuit - Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A northern New Mexico city plagued by lawsuits and a mayor whose home was raided in connection with a bid-rigging investigation is facing another lawsuit.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports a former Las Vegas, New Mexico, deputy police chief recently filed a federal racial discrimination lawsuit against the city.

Ken Jenkins says in court documents that he was "subjected to unwarranted and discriminatory action" for speaking out about how the police department was underfunded.

Jenkins also alleges he was passed over for the interim chief job because he was black.

Jenkins worked in the Las Vegas Police Department for nearly 20 years and says he was forced to retire.

City Attorney Esther Garduno-Montoya did not immediately respond to an email.

New Mexico Deputies Fatally Shoot Woman Near Albuquerque Associated Press

The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office says a woman was fatally shot after multiple deputies fired at her during a domestic violence call.

Undersheriff Rudy Mora told reporters early Monday the woman was shot after she jumped out of an RV and "aggressively approached" the deputies. Mora says the female was armed but it's unclear what type of weapon she held.

Mora says the woman was declared dead at the scene and one deputy was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The Albuquerque Journal reports the woman’s family has identified her as Elisha Lucero, and say they believe she was experiencing psychosis.

The shooting occurred in Albuquerque's South Valley neighborhood after deputies responded to a domestic violence report. It is being investigated by a multi-agency task force.

Police: New Mexico Pastor Secretly Recorded Stepdaughter - Hobbs News-Sun, Associated Press

A Lovington pastor is facing charges after his estranged wife told police he secretly recorded his stepdaughter undressing in her bedroom.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports Macedonia Church of God in Christ Pastor Steve Mackey was arrested this month after his wife says she found the covertly recorded videos on an SD card at her home.

The 52-year-old Mackey told the News-Sun the allegations are false and says he doesn't have the technical skills to do electronic eavesdropping.

Investigators say the SD card contained 565 video files and Mackey's name was identified on metadata as the owner of software embedded in one file.

Mackey was charged with two counts of manufacturing visual medium of sexual exploitation of children, both second-degree felonies.

He was released last week on $5,000 bond.

UFC's Jon Jones Disputes Strip Club Waitress' Assault ClaimAssociated Press

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is denying allegations that he assaulted a waitress in a New Mexico strip club.

Denise White, a representative for Jones, said in a statement Monday that he is confident he will be cleared of the "baseless claim."

According to White, the fighter only became aware of the battery charge against him Sunday through Albuquerque news outlets.

Jones is accused of placing the waitress in a chokehold and slapping her genitals during an April visit.

Court records show a bench warrant was issued for Jones when he never attended a bond arraignment last month.

White says Jones has since paid the bond and the warrant was lifted.

Jones is coming off of a 15-month suspension last year for doping.

He plans to fight in December. 

Apollo 14 'Moon Trees' Planted In New Mexico Are Lost - KOAT-TV, Associated Press

Five trees planted in New Mexico from seeds taken to the moon during Apollo 14 and given to the state by NASA have all died or been forgotten.

KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reports officials where the trees were planted decades ago admitted they have lost track of the trees.

Other states have kept up with moon tree locations.

Moon trees were grown from 500 seeds taken into orbit around the moon by former U.S. Forest Service smokejumper Stuart Roosa during the 1971 mission.

NASA says the resulting seedlings were planted throughout the United States and the world. The trees were meant to honor Durango, Colorado-born Roosa.

A NASA list of moon trees only cites one New Mexico tree. That one was planted in Albuquerque and city officials say it later died.