SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Following two violent incidents at Santa Fe Rail Runner stations, the City of Santa Fe says it will addressing security. Mayor Alan Webber recently held a meeting with the Community Health and Safety Department officials along with officials from the Rail Runner who manage the stations.
On Friday, Santa Fe Police met with Rail Runner representatives at the 599 station in Santa Fe. “This meeting’s about looking at upgrading our cameras, seeing how we could coordinate with Santa Fe Police to have visibility out here,” Robert Gonzalez, Assistant Director of Rio Metro Regional Transit District, said. While adding the security measures is still in a planning phase, Gonzalez said they plan to add three cameras and upgrade three others at the 599 station, where a man was carjacked and shot on April 12.
Santa Fe Crime Stoppers is currently offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect who was involved in the car theft and shooting of a man at the NM 599 Rail Runner Station on April 12. Police say the 73-year-old victim was in his car when he was shot.
The victim’s car was then stolen by the suspect and was later found by authorities in Albuquerque. The victim was critically injured and is still recovering.
Gonzalez said the Rail Runner trains have security guards but they are also considering adding security guards to the stations to have more visibility at the platforms and parking lots. “I just want to make sure that people are aware that we are looking at this and we take it serious. We want to work with not only Santa Fe Police but all the jurisdictions up and down this corridor,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said they plan to enhance security at the 599 station and South Capitol station first due to the violent crimes at those facilities and then move to all their other locations.
Santa Fe Police arrested Matthew Arellano for the fatal shooting April 5 shooting at the South Capitol Rail Runner Station that killed 24-year-old David Hernandez and left a 38-year-old man hospitalized. A second person of interest, Travis Whaler, was also located in connection to the shooting but is not facing any charges in connection to the homicide.
“The discussion was productive and constructive,” said Mayor Webber in a press release. “We shared what we knew about the problem and they expressed their concern and eagerness to do their part, as operator of the train, to ensure public safety. They indicated they have funding to increase camera technology at the stations, and in addition, have public safety personnel who can increase their monitoring of the parking areas adjacent to the stations.”
While the Rail Runner and its adjacent assets are owned by the Department of Transportation, the Rio Metro Regional Transit District manages them. The RMRTD director and assistant director were in the meeting with Mayor Webber along with Acting Community Health and Safety Director Kyra Ochoa, Police Chief Andrew Padilla, and Deputy Chief Paul Joye.
According to the press release, RMRTD Assistant Director Robert Gonzales states the increased visibility of security and signage has resulted in a positive impact on crime at other stations. There is no word on the cost of the extra security measures or timeline on when they will be in place. Gonzalez said he hoped to have them in place as soon as possible.