ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There’s a new mural being painted in the International District. The people behind it hope it sparks conversation about gun violence in the community. “We really need to get ahead of our other pandemic, which is gun violence,” said Miranda Viscoli, the Co-President of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.
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In the past month alone, Albuquerque has seen a lot of high-profile gun violence cases. Including Lawrence Anzures, the 30-year-old was shot to death after an alleged confrontation with another man at an Uptown sports bar. The next day, 13-year-old Bennie Hargrove was shot and killed at Washington Middle School. One week later police say James Ramirez shot three Albuquerque Police Officers on Juan Tabo near Lomas, when officers tried to confront him and another man about a robbery.
On Thursday, there was another shooting outside Christ Lutheran School, near Sandia High. Police say 16-year-old Steven Robles had a conflict with a student from another school, who showed up at Sandia High to confront Robles. That’s when they say Robles shot at the car they were in – they returned fire, hitting Robles in the leg. The school was put on lockdown for hours.
“This is an extremely scary situation for kids,” said APD Police Chief Harold Medina, about Thursday’s shooting near Sandia. “I think as a community, this is another one of those things we really need to talk about,” Chief Medina said.
That’s the kind of conversation artists are hoping this mural on Zuni near San Pedro sparks. “We want change. We want to see things change,” said Dave Etta Wells, one of the painters helping with the mural.
Using bright colors and positive words, they say they’re hopeful the painting on a wall they built themselves will send a message to neighbors and lawmakers. “Gun violence doesn’t have to happen,” said Wells.
The group says the mural should be finished by late October. They hope to eventually see many more throughout the city.