Ryan Martinez is a 23-year-old suspect accused of shooting a Native American man at a protest on September 28, 2023, in Española, New Mexico, over a planned statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate, according to the Associated Press.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Suspect, Ryan Martinez, Is Accused of Pulling Out a Gun Shortly After His MAGA Hat Fell Off
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Martinez’s MAGA hat “came off just before he fired,” and he “was trying to get near the pedestal on which the statue of Oñate would have been placed outside of the Rio Arriba County annex building.”
In the video, the suspect is first seen walking away from a group of people before he turns and leaps over a barrier back in their direction. They grapple with him. He pulls out a gun, and a gunshot rings out. “Let him go,” someone says.
In the longer video, a speaker discussed people being on Native lands. A person was holding a sign that said, “land back” and people chanted that phrase.
“Thank you for coming out today for this call to action,” she said.
“You are on stolen land,” she said, indicating that villages and water are under attack. “Stand up, fight back,” people in the crowd said. She said there was a protest against “this colonizer, and we won.”
The speaker demanded accessible housing and treatment for fentanyl addiction. “Today native people still face racist violence,” she said from police and “vigilantes.”
“We demand an end to all anti-Indian violence,” she said as people gathered peacefully in protest of the statue.
According to AP, the statue’s installation had been cancelled before the protest, and the injured person was shot in the upper torso.
The Shooting Unfolded at the Rio Arriba Complex
The New Mexico State Police released a brief statement on X. “NMSP is investigating a shooting that took place at the Rio Arriba Complex in Espanola. Suspect is in custody. Victim transported to an area hospital. There is no threat to the public,” they wrote.
Johnny Juarez, a media justice organization for Yucca Action, shared a picture of Martinez on X and wrote the following accusations:
Ryan Martinez, of the East Mountains, drove to Española earlier today looking to instigate a reaction out of those celebrating the cancellation of the return of the Oñate statue.
After being told to leave numerous times, Martinez attempted to rush the shrine created by Indigenous matriarchs occupying the space, and in the process was tackled to the ground.
After this altercation, Martinez pulled his firearm and shot a peacekeeper who had been praying at the site since sunrise.
Let me repeat that: Martinez shot a man who had been peacefully praying at the shrine since sunrise.
This is the violence Oñate represents.
In another post, Juarez wrote:
This beautiful site of prayer and peaceful resistance was turned into a crime scene today.
I can’t comprehend why someone would drive nearly 100 miles out of their way to intimidate and violently assault those peacefully praying a violent conquistador never be glorified.
Ryan Martinez needs to be unenrolled from his Pre-Law studies and never allowed to feel safe or welcome in our communities again.
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