In the fall of 2021, 13-year-old Bennie Hargrove was shot and killed at Washington Middle School. Police say he was standing up to fellow classmate, Juan Saucedo Jr., for bullying others when Saucedo pulled out a gun and shot Bennie.
Representative Pamelya Herndon said, “It was important to remember that Bennie was doing something really good and that people should remember it’s not violence that moves you to the next step but it’s trying to make sure that you can make decisions in a very contemplated way.”
Now, the city of Albuquerque wants to rename Washington Middle School Park to Bennie J. Hargrove Park in honor of him. “The example of courage, compassion, and friendship that this young man showed toward his friends towards his community certainly merits this honor and designation,” shared the Director of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department Dave Simon.
Representative Herndon says Bennie’s family is in support of the initiative and his grandmother is touched to have the park renamed after her grandson. “She just wants people to remember Bennie and the good things that he was doing and what he was trying to do in the community and she said this park will do,” said Rep. Herndon. The recommendation also includes a plan to add a bench for people to sit and reflect, playground equipment for children, along with a plaque and picture of Bennie.
The proposal for the park renaming will go before the city’s Metropolitan Parks and Rec advisory board Tuesday for a vote. Simon explained, “I will consider that recommendation then forward it on to Mayor Keller and of course, we want to consult and we will forward a recommendation also to APS administration for their concurrence. I think all signals are that there’s strong support for this change.”
Rep. Herndon is also re-introducing the Bennie Hargrove Gun Safety Act in the upcoming legislative session. It requires gun owners to keep their firearms secured and out of the reach of minors.