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Texas Gunman Once Escaped NM Mental Health Center, JFK Files: FBI Concerned Over Latino Influence

Nov 7, 2017

Texas Church Gunman Once Escaped From Mental Health CenterThe Associated Press

The gunman who killed 26 people at a small-town Texas church was treated at a mental health center in New Mexico and briefly escaped in 2012, according to a police report.

Devin Patrick Kelley was also caught trying to bring guns onto Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico when he was stationed there, according to an El Paso police report obtained by several media outlets.

Kelley, who was 21 at the time, had made death threats against superior officers, the report said.

He was committed to a mental health facility in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, but at some point escaped and was later found by police at a bus station in downtown El Paso in June 2012.

While in the military, Kelley served in logistics readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his 2014 discharge, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.

He was discharged for an assault involving his previous wife and her child and had served a year of confinement after a court-martial. 

JFK Files: FBI Concerned Of Growing Latino Political PowerThe Associated Press

Historians say a memo included in recently released documents on President John F. Kennedy' assassination shows that the FBI was concerned about the growing political power of Latinos.

The document reveals that an FBI informant monitored the Dallas chapter of the G.I. Forum — a moderate group of Mexican American veterans who spoke out against discrimination.

The FBI informant reported that the G.I. Forum was troubled that the League of United Latin American Citizens was enjoying a revival and might pose a threat to its membership.

Some historians believe the memo is evidence that the FBI was uneasy about the growing Latino political influence and may have worked to create tensions between rival civil rights groups.

Kennedy spoke at a LULAC gala in Houston the night before his assassination.

Radioactive Waste Repackaged At US Lab In New MexicoThe Associated Press

The U.S. Energy Department says workers have finished treating dozens of containers of radioactive waste that were inappropriately packed at one of the nation's premier nuclear weapons laboratories.

It was a similar container from Los Alamos National Laboratory that ruptured in 2014, forcing a nearly three-year closure of the federal government's only underground nuclear waste repository.

The chemical reaction that caused the breach was spurred by organic cat litter that was meant to absorb moisture.

The treatment process involved adding water and an inert material to 60 containers in question to stabilize them so they can ultimately be disposed of. The work started in May and was completed this week.

Officials say the containers will be stored at Los Alamos until they can be shipped to the repository in southern New Mexico.

Federal Judge Sides With New Mexico Ranchers In Water CaseThe Associated Press

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has sided with a New Mexico ranching family in a decades-long battle over access to water on national forest land.

The case of the Goss family has been closely watched by thousands of ranchers who hold grazing permits across the West.

The family claimed the federal government violated its constitutional rights by not providing just compensation after condemning property — in this case water rights that had been established before the Lincoln National Forest was created.

Chief Judge Susan Braden agreed and on Friday ordered the family and the U.S. Forest Service to determine whether alternative water sources are available that can allow for a viable cattle business.

Braden has yet to determine how much compensation the family is owed.

Forest officials did not immediately comment on the ruling.

Navajo Nation Signs Land Swap Deal With New MexicoThe Associated Press

The Navajo Nation signed a deal Monday that swaps more than 37,000 acres of State Trust land in New Mexico for a ranch that's owned by the tribe.

The State Trust properties in question are land on which Navajo people are currently living, State Trust property surrounded by Navajo trust lands, and lands adjacent to the Navajo Nation.

The nation says in a statement that the swap started when tribal officials learned that Navajo families were unknowingly burying family members in a cemetery on State Trust land.

The state also identified land where Navajo people were residing on State Trust lands.

As part of the swap, the state will get the nation's Slash Ranch located in New Mexico.

Lawsuit: Wrong Walgreens Prescription Led To Suicide AttemptSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A northern New Mexico man is suing Walgreens over claims a pharmacist erroneously filled a prescription for him, and that anti-anxiety drug led to a suicide attempt.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports an attorney for Anthony Gonzales filed a lawsuit last week in New Mexico state district court stemming from an alleged mix up from 2014.

According to the lawsuit, Gonzales was attempting to fill prescriptions for a muscle relaxant filled at a Walgreens in Española, New Mexico. Court papers say the drugs were prescribed to treat injuries from an auto accident.

But the lawsuit says a pharmacy employee instead gave him a prescription for another Anthony Gonzales, a generic form of Xanax.

The Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Gonzales is seeking an unspecified amount of damages to cover the medical costs.

Veto Dispute Heads To New Mexico Supreme CourtAssociated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether 10 bills vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez deserved to be invalidated because the governor allegedly failed to explain her decisions.

Supreme Court justices on Monday unanimously agreed to wade into the dispute between the governor's office and lawmakers who say Martinez never offered a reason for her vetoes and missed veto deadlines.

Top-ranking Democrats in the state Senate and House of Representatives say that timely veto explanations are crucial to the legislative process so that concerns and objections may be addressed.

A state district court allowed the 10 disputed bills to become law in September. The governor says the legislature is overstepping its authority in challenging the vetoes.

The laws aim to expand high-speed internet access, allow hemp research and more.

Candidate Says New Mexico Needs More MillennialsAssociated Press

A prominent Democratic candidate for New Mexico governor is outlining her economic agenda for the state.

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday announced a plan designed to foster sustained job creation, attract millennial-generation workers and stop the "brain drain" of talented professionals exiting the state.

As she runs for governor, Lujan Grisham says she wants assemble industry leaders and entrepreneurs to address the state's economic difficulties, and for state universities to help more.

The sole GOP candidate for governor, Congressman Steve Pearce, has yet to release a detailed state economic plan. Neither Lujan Grisham nor Pearce is seeking re-election to Congress.

New Mexico has the nation's second-highest unemployment rate after Alaska. The state's oil- and tourism-dependent economy is showing some recent signs of expansion in terms of tax revenues.

State Police Investigating Fatal Police Shooting In RuidosoAssociated Press

New Mexico State Police are investigating a fatal police shooting in the popular tourist village of Ruidoso.

Ruidoso police say at least one officer opened fire after a vehicle rammed into a patrol car.

Officers were investigating a call about a burglary in progress around 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

One of the responding officers was outside his police vehicle when he was struck by both suspects who were driving separate vehicles and attempting to flee the scene.

Police say one of the vehicles was driven by 28-year-old Johnathon Brownell and was shot by an officer.

The second vehicle was driven by 31-year-old Marlysa Sanchez, who was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say Brownell was arrested and is in stable condition at a hospital, as is the injured officer.

Expert: New Mexico Counties Losing Out On Oil And Gas TaxesSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

An appraisal expert says local governments in New Mexico's oil and gas country are losing out on millions of dollars in revenue because drilling rigs and other equipment are missing from the tax rolls.

Jerry Wisdom owns Total Assessment Solutions Corp., which has done work valuing energy company assets in Rio Arriba, Eddy and Lea counties. He testified recently before state lawmakers, saying equipment that should be taxed is not on the rolls.

State Sen. John Arthur Smith is a Deming Democrat who chairs the Senate Finance Committee and described it as a huge problem.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the state relies on self-reporting for oil and gas industry machinery.

Wisdom says that honor system isn't working amid record New Mexico crude oil production.

Small Plane Crashes Near New Mexico Airport, 4 Aboard KilledAssociated Press

Authorities say a small plane has crashed in the southern New Mexico community of Hatch and that all four people who were aboard died.

Authorities said Monday that the cause of Sunday's crash of the single-engine plane about 300 yards from the airport in Hatch was not known and that the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate.

New Mexico State police said the victims were from Texas.

They were identified as 57-year-old Anthony Deramus, 33-year-old Christopher Howell, 41-year-old Kanequa Chancellor and 25-year-old Malcolm Watkins.

Watkins lived in Waxahachie, Texas and the others were from El Paso.

Albuquerque City Council Approves Panhandling OrdinanceAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The Albuquerque City Council is prohibiting panhandlers from soliciting motorists at medians and sidewalks and making it illegal for motorists to physically interact with them.

An ordinance approved Monday night also bars so-called boot brigades that firefighters sometimes engage in to raise money from motorists, a Brownie trying to sell cookies to motorists or any other activity when drivers are being asked to interact with a pedestrian.

It won't apply in instances where motorists can pull over into street side parking.

City Councilor Trudy Jones, who sponsored the measure, told the Albuquerque Journal that the ordinance is aimed at making streets safer.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico has questioned the measure's constitutionality and argues people have a right to stand in public to solicit.

Air Force Admits Fault In Reporting Shooter's Past CrimesAssociated Press

The gunman who killed 26 people at a small town Texas church was able to buy weapons because the Air Force did not submit his criminal history to the FBI as required by military rules.

The Air Force acknowledged Monday that if the past offenses by Devin Patrick Kelley had been properly shared, they would have prevented him from buying a gun.

In 2014, Kelley was formally ousted from the Air Force for a 2012 assault on his ex-wife in which he choked her and struck her son hard enough to fracture his skull.

Kelley served in logistics readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his 2014 discharge, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.

He was discharged for the assault and had served a year of confinement after a court-martial. Under Pentagon rules, information about convictions of military personnel for crimes such as assault should be submitted to the FBI's Criminal Justice Investigation Services Division.

Stefanek said the service is launching a review of its handling of the case and taking a comprehensive look at its databases to ensure other cases have been reported correctly.

Authorities say Kelley fired at least 450 rounds of ammunition at worshippers in Sunday's attack at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. The dead ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years old.

More Border Crossers Prosecuted In 'New Era' Of Enforcement - By Astrid Galvan, Associated Press

The Trump administration's get-tough-on-immigration stance is taking shape with the expansion of an old program that aims to reduce illegal border crossings by prosecuting those who are caught.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called for an increase in immigrant prosecutions. In Arizona, that means the program widely known as Operation Streamline has grown to include first-time offenders.

But it's unclear just how effective the program is.

Customs and Border Protection says only 8 percent of migrants who were prosecuted through Operation Streamline in 2016 reoffended within a year. But a government oversight agency says their methodology is flawed and that the number is likely much higher.

The government says the program is an effective recidivism tool, but critics worry it violates due process.

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