ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – According to a criminal complaint, the alleged shooter of a man during a protest of the conquistador Juan de Onate statue near Old Town in Albuquerque was pursued by other protesters before the shooting. In a criminal complaint, police report the incident happened around 7:15 p.m. on Monday, June 15 when the demonstration started to escalate and protesters began to attempt to remove the statue.
The documents state that cell phone footage that was captured by a bystander showed a male individual in a blue shirt, later identified as Steven Baca, appearing to protect the statue. Baca was also allegedly recorded leaving the area and interacting with the crowd, though the complaint states his type of interaction is unknown at this time.
An undercover police detective allegedly observed several members from what appeared to be the main protesting group pursuing Baca on foot as he backed away from them. The detective states Baca then used pepper spray on the crowd.
The complaint states that Baca was pursued by the crowd who began striking him. A male individual with a green longboard attacks Baca who is then tackled to the ground by the male.
A second male dressed in all black then reportedly grabs the dropped longboard and swings it towards Baca’s head and during this time, a series of gunshots are heard and the longboard is dropped to the ground. The complaint describes Baca as being recorded holding a black semi-automatic handgun and firing several shots.
The male dressed in black allegedly struck Baca with the longboard, suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his torso, and immediately received aid by other bystanders in the crowd. The complaint goes on to say that after firing the gun, Baca is seen manipulating the gun before putting it on the ground and sitting away from it before using his own cell phone.
The video recording did not show any physical injuries on Baca from being hit with the longboard. The complaint states that Albuquerque Police Department units arrived at the scene and detained Baca while the victim received emergency medical aid and was transported to a hospital.
Due to his injuries, the victim was unable to be interviewed by police. Authorities collected a firearm at the scene in addition to four spend ammunition casings.
Baca was transported to Presbyterian Hospital and was medically cleared. He declined to provide a statement to police regarding the incident.
The complaint states that Baca knowingly and intentionally discharged the firearm at the victim during the protest regarding the attempted removal of the Don Juan de Onate statue. Baca has been charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and firearm enhancement.
Baca is no stranger to the public spotlight. Last year he ran for the City Council seat in District 2. Had he been elected he said he wanted to face the cities biggest issues, crime, homelessness and business.
At a city council forum last October he said he was Valley High School graduate and a fifth-generation north valley native. Baca is also the son of a former Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy. The department posted to its Twitter Tuesday saying Baca has no connection to them and that his father stopped working for BCSO in 2001.
The New Mexico Civil Guard also took to their Facebook page Tuesday saying Baca is not a member, and that their men held him at gunpoint until police arrived. Baca was once in the Air National Guard but was given a general discharge because he did not remove his cap while inside.