Monday News Roundup: State Police: Teen Had Cap Gun When Fatally Shot

Jun 23, 2014

State Police: Teen Had Cap Gun When Fatally Shot - The Associated Press

New Mexico State Police say a teenager was armed with a cap gun when he was fatally shot by Espanola police earlier this month.

State Police officials said Monday that their investigation into the June 8 shooting of 16-year-old Victor Villalpando will be presented to the 1st Judicial District's Attorney's Office when it's completed.

They say the two Espanola police officers involved have been interviewed by State Police investigators.

The officers had responded to a report of a suspicious person in a parking lot behind a shopping center.

It reportedly was Villalpando who called 911 to make the report using a different name. He allegedly said the suspicious person was armed with a gun and hitting himself.

The officers had tried to talk the teen into putting down the weapon.

Southwest VA Officials Knew Of Wait Time Problems  The Associated Press, Arizona Republic and Albuquerque Journal

An audit by the Veterans Affairs health care network in the Southwest shows officials knew years ago that employees were manipulating data on doctor appointments.

The Arizona Republic reports that officials failed to stop the practice despite a national directive.

The 2012 audit found hospitals and clinics in Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas chronically violated department policy and created inaccurate data on patient wait times using a variety of methods.

In New Mexico, schedulers would sometimes cancel appointments and remake them to reflect acceptable wait times. The Albuquerque Journal reports details of the rigged scheduling were among the findings of an investigation triggered in 2013 by a whistleblower complaint.

Allegations that dozens of veterans died while awaiting appointments at the Phoenix VA medical center first triggered the national uproar over the VA.


Albuquerque May Assist Homeless Ex-Inmates - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico’s most populous county is considering providing shelter for inmates with mental illness who are released from jail with nowhere to go.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Bernalillo County Commission will consider a $1.1 million proposal at a meeting tomorrow to offer beds for some newly released inmates.

Officials say the program would give homeless people, just out of jail and struggling with mental illness, a safe place to stay.

Social services agencies would be charged with running the program, which would offer 75 beds at places throughout the community.

Albuquerque city councilors are also considering the program.

Gila Forest Officials Warn Of Black Bear Activity - The Associated Press

Officials on the Gila National Forest are warning visitors of increased black bear activity in southwestern New Mexico.

They say activity is on the rise due to the continuing hot and dry conditions across the Gila. As drought persists, they say black bears will be in search of food and water.

Homeowners and forest visitors have been seeing an increasing number of black bears in close proximity to their property or within recreation areas.

Forest officials remind us that all food should be properly stored and garbage should be disposed of in a secure manner. Visitors should also be aware of their surroundings and able to recognize signs of bear activity, such as scat and claw marks on trees.

US Supreme Court Justice To Speak In New Mexico - The Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will speak at a summer symposium in Santa Fe by the Women's International Study Center.

Ginsburg is to speak along with Albuquerque lawyer Roberta Cooper Ramo at the Aug. 15 opening of the symposium entitled, "Risk and Reinvention: How Women Are Changing the World."

There will be panel discussions the next day about women in the arts, sciences, cultural preservation and business. The sessions will be at the Drury Plaza Hotel.

Organizers said there are scholarships available for college students and young people ages 18 to 29 to attend the symposium.

Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993. She is an opera fan and usually attends performances at the Santa Fe Opera each summer.

Artists Want To Protect O'Keeffe's 'Black Place' - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Some artists and environmentalists are concerned that oil and gas drilling is encroaching on the black, white and gray hills in northwestern New Mexico made famous in Georgia O'Keeffe's drawings and paintings.

While the "Black Place" itself remains untouched, The New Mexican reports that dozens of drilling tanks are 500 yards from the site and it's surrounded by rigs and a maze of dusty dirt roads traveled by oilfield workers.

The head of the O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, Robert Kret, says he had a preliminary discussion with state preservation officials and another meeting is planned. But state officials say it's too early to say what could be done to protect the Black Place.

The area is on federal land just east of the Navajo community of Nageezi.

Crews Make More Progress Against Navajo Blaze - The Associated Press

Firefighters continue to make progress on a wildfire that has charred more than 22 square miles on the Navajo Nation.

Crews have contained 60 percent of the Assayii Lake Fire. The human-caused fire has been burning for more than a week in the Chuska Mountains just east of the Arizona-New Mexico border.

All areas to the north of the fire opened yesterday, but roads south of Highway 134 remain closed for firefighter and public safety.

Navajo Nation officials say some livestock have been rescued from the area, but they're still urging ranchers who want to search for their cattle and sheep to go through the tribal emergency operations center.

Tribal officials are also being questioned about how they have been handling donations.

Police Seek Suspect In Los Lunas Killing - The Associated Press

Los Lunas police say a man whose body was discovered in an apartment complex parking lot appears to be the victim of a homicide.

Authorities responding to a 911 call around 6 a.m. Sunday at Gerald Chavez apartments found the man lying in the parking lot in a pool of blood.

Police say the unidentified man suffered several injuries but did not give further details.

Investigators say the victim lived at the complex for some time.

They say it's unclear if he was a random victim.

Police say the man was in his 50s and possibly suffered from mental illness.

A cause of death as well as any possible suspects have yet to be determined.

1 Dead In Albuquerque Hit-And-Run - The Associated Press

Police in Albuquerque are searching for a vehicle they say was involved in a deadly hit-and-run.

Authorities say a woman was pronounced dead late Sunday night at a hospital after being struck in a traffic accident near Carlisle and Indian School.

They are searching for a white pickup truck they believe was involved.

Investigators say it is unknown if alcohol was a factor.

No other details were released.

Police had to close a nearby intersection for approximately two hours.