TUES: New Mexico Police Probe Officer-Involving Fatal Shooting, + More

Sep 7, 2021

New Mexico Police Probe Officer-Involving Fatal Shooting – Associated Press

New Mexico State Police said Tuesday they are investigating the fatal shooting of a 46-year-old suspect who fired at a SWAT team during a standoff with Albuquerque police.

The victim who fired multiple shots at officers responding to a domestic violence call at a residence in Moriarty Monday night was identified as Cimmeron Christy of Moriarty. He was pronounced dead at the scene from his injuries sometime after 10 p.m. Monday.

No deputies or officers were injured during the incident. State police, Torrance County sheriff's deputies and an Albuquerque Police Department SWAT team were attempting to negotiate a peaceful surrender when Christy fired the shots toward the officers and they returned fire, police said Tuesday.

"The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau agents are working to independently determine the series of events leading to the shooting, including collecting evidence and conducting interviews," the bureau said in a statement.

The name of the officer involved won't be released until interviews are completed. The results of the investigation will be given to the district attorney's office for review, the bureau said.

Latest Draft Of New Mexico Oil, Gas Rules Stirs TensionAssociated Press

Advocates for the oil and gas industry and the environment are at odds over the latest draft of proposed regulations to tamp down on smog-causing pollution.

A New Mexico Environment Department panel will hear the agency's proposed new rules, which some see as putting the state's budget and hundreds of jobs at risk, at a hearing later this month, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

Don Schreiber, whose ranch home near Blanco encompasses both Rio Arriba and San Juan counties, has been following and documenting the pollution issue surrounding regional oil and gas drilling for nearly two decades. He has lobbied for strict industry emissions regulations at the state and federal level.

"Oil companies can choose to capture methane without a regulation," Schreiber said. "It's common sense. But it's also about the bottom line."

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's executive order on climate change calls for state environmental regulators to come up with ways to cut emissions from the gas and oil industries.

Environmentalists like Schreiber think the tentative new regulations may not go far enough. He thinks they still have exceptions for emissions when it comes to re-drilling or completing wells.

"This is a brittle landscape," Schreiber said. "I can go to well locations that have been closed for 15 years, and I can tell you exactly where it was. It just doesn't heal."

Under the proposal, professional engineers would review and validate emissions data calculated by oil and gas operators. There would also be an increase in inspections of equipment for leaks and other issues.

"We can't wait for our ozone levels to get worse," state Environment Secretary James Kenney said. "We have an unlevel playing field between industry and the government right now."

The state department estimates the rules would slash ozone-forming pollutants by about 129,000 tons annually, and also reduce about 425,000 tons of methane.

JoAnna Strother, the American Lung Association's senior advocacy director, said the state of the air quality in the region has to change. The group gave failing grades to five New Mexico counties for ozone pollution.

"We need to see air quality standards get tightened up so we really can be protected," Strother said. "We still have a ways to go before we make sure we're breathing cleaner, healthier air."

New Mexico's oil and gas companies have already expressed reservations through written feedback. Ryan Davis, the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico president and operations manager of Merrion Oil & Gas Corp. in Farmington, said the rule doesn't seem fairly balanced if you're a smaller operator.

"The requirement of having certification by a qualified professional engineer is not appropriate and creates an unnecessary burden to operators," Davis wrote as part of the Petroleum Association's 200-page testimony and recommendations. He thinks it would be fine to let operator's in-house engineers certify data.

Davis also has objected to phasing out certain pneumatic control devices because replacing equipment like that would be a hefty price tag for some operators.

If the new rules were to pass, they could go into effect by March.

New Mexico Rep. Herrell Seeks Reassurance On Afghan RefugeesAssociated Press

A Republican congresswoman is seeking more information on the vetting process for Afghan refugees and emphasizing security concerns as she embarks on a tour of resettlement operations at an Air Force base on the outskirts of her home town in southern New Mexico.

U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell was scheduled Tuesday for a tour of the resettlement operations at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo.

"For weeks Rep. Herrell has insisted upon Congressional oversight following Joe Biden's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan," spokesman Billy Gribbin said in an email. "Rep. Herrell believes that New Mexicans deserve transparency in a process that has been clouded by the Biden administration's incompetence thus far."

In a commitment to help people who aided the American war effort and others who are particularly vulnerable under Taliban rule, at least 50,000 Afghans are expected to be admitted into the United States following the fall of Kabul.

Most of the Afghans who have arrived in the U.S. are being housed on military bases, receiving medical treatment, assistance with submitting immigration applications and other services aimed at helping them settle in the country.

Similar resettlement efforts are underway at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, Fort Bliss in Texas, Fort Lee in Virginia, Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst in New Jersey, Fort Pickett in Virginia and other military facilities.

The Department of Homeland Security said last week that tens of thousands of Afghans already have made it through security vetting and arrived in the U.S.

In 2018, Herrell flipped New Mexico's southern District 2 seat to Republican control while embracing then-President Donald Trump's border wall strategy and espousing a pro-petroleum philosophy in a major U.S. oil-production hub.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has offered New Mexico as a ready participant in efforts to assist with Afghan refugees seeking asylum.

Gribbin said the congresswoman also intends to review the living conditions for Afghan nationals brought to New Mexico.

Swastika Graffiti Found Outside Jewish Man's Santa Fe HomeAssociated Press

Police are investigating after a Santa Fe man, who is Jewish, found a swastika spray-painted on a wall outside his apartment.

Jeff Hornstein told the Santa Fe New Mexican he and his wife saw it upon returning home from dinner Saturday night. He said the graffiti wasn't there when they left.

Lt. Sean Strahon said there are no suspects. Authorities also say they can't call it a hate crime until they talk to a suspect.

Hornstein, who teaches English and works with immigrant communities, said he doesn't plan to have it painted over right away so that people can see anti-hate incidents still happen.

He also filed a report with the Anti-Defamation League.

The organization says there were 50 hate crimes in New Mexico last year.

Albuquerque Jail Offers Treatment For Opioid Addiction- Albuquerque JournalAssociated Press

 

The Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque has begun a program to give buprenorphine to people in jail who are already using it to treat their opioid addictions.

 

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the buprenorphine maintenance program can provide an average of 22 inmates per day with the medication.

 

Recovery Services of New Mexico -- a treatment organization run by BayMark Health Services -- received a contract to provide the medication at the jail late last year. The county signed a two-year contract agreeing to pay the organization just under $250,000 for services and $312,400 for the medication itself.

 

Recovery Services has been providing another medication-assisted treatment -- methadone -- in the jail for years.

 

For now, Recovery Services will provide buprenorphine only to those who had already been using the medication before they were locked up. However, Evan Gonzales, a spokesman for Bernalillo County’s Department of Behavioral Health Services, said, the county will explore expanding the program to start people on the treatment.

 

Navajo Nation Reports 46 Covid-19 Cases, No Virus Deaths- Associated Press

 

The Navajo Nation has reported 46 additional COVID-19 cases and no deaths as of Sunday.

 

The tribe has seen nearly 33,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,414 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began.

 

Navajo officials are urging people to get vaccinated, wear masks while in public and minimize their travel.

 

Officials say all Navajo Nation executive branch employees will need to be fully vaccinated against the virus by the end of September or submit to regular testing.

 

The new rules apply to full, part-time and temporary employees, including those working for tribal enterprises like utilities, shopping centers and casinos.

 

Any worker who does not show proof of vaccination by Sept. 29 must be tested every two weeks or face discipline.

 

 

 

State Fair Cancels Jr. Livestock Show And Sale-KOB 4, KUNM News

 

Due to COVID concerns, the New Mexico State Fair has canceled the annual Junior Livestock Show and Sale, KOB 4 reports.

 

In a statement, fair organizers said “the recent rapid uptick of COVID cases, combined with a new public health order has made it problematic for some families to attend the fair this year.” 

 

In August, Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham announced that all fair goers and even participants would be required to have had their COVID-19 vaccine. The decision sparked criticism among families who had planned to participate in youth events, who stated that the time between the announcement and the start of the fair would not allow for youth competitors to receive both rounds of vaccination. 

 

Expo New Mexico will be offering a full refund to all Jr. Livestock Show and Sale exhibitors.