A peaceful protest at the civic center in Espanola, New Mexico was grimly interrupted by a gun shot which wounded a 42 year old protestor. The protestors were demonstrating against the return of a statue of the 16th century colonial ruler Juan de Oñate outside public offices. Oñate was famous for the Ácoma massacre which claimed the lives of 800 members of the Ácoma tribe. The statue has been disputed since 1996 but was finally taken down in 2020 during nationwide anti-racism protests.
Ryan Martinez, 23 years old, was arrested on Thursday shortly after the shooting. The wounded man was Native American climate activist Jacob Johns. He was rushed to the University of New Mexico hospital in critical condition. Martinez donned a bright red Make America Great Again cap and had been antagonizing the protestors leading up to the shooting.
A GofundMe has been established for Jacob Johns to pay off his medical bills. His peers say Johns, “dedicated his life to Indigenous and climate justice [and] is a skilled muralist and speaker, and specializes in non-violent, peaceful ‘artivism.’”
Witnesses to the shooting have mentioned Martinez's evil smile as he approached. A witness told state police she “noticed something out of the ordinary about Ryan, [he] had an evil smile." Martinez jumped a low wall and got into a scuffle with protesters before pulling a handgun from his waistband, firing one shot blindly into the crowd and fleeing. He had approached with an aggressive attitude and had belligerently shouted racist comments to the children present. Martinez fled the scene in a white Tesla but was pulled over shortly.
Upon viewing his social media, Martinez was a prominent supporter of Donald Trump and followed the MyPillow Facebook page. The phrase "TRUMP WON", was scene scrawled into his bio. He had posed in 2021 next to a Mercedes-Benz with a handgun in his waistband. This is another in a long line of shootings by far right supporters of the former president.