ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After some high-profile murders in Albuquerque, one city councilor is urging the city to pay for land to build permanent memorials to honor the victims.
News 13 reported Wednesday about a possible park in memory of the West Mesa murder victims.
Now, we’re learning there’s also a push to pay for a memorial in a vacant lot where two homeless men were beat to death two years ago.
Families in the west side neighborhood gathered to get something to eat or drink from a Joy Junction truck that pulled up.
They’re just across the street from an empty lot that was the site of a bloody murder scene two years ago.
Police arrested three teens for beating Kee Thompson and Allison Gorman to death, two homeless men who had been sleeping on mattresses in this lot on 60th near Central.
Some have left flowers in honor of the victims but most have left behind things that neighbors say are just disgusting.
“Needles, syringes, trash, there’s dogs that scare us to death,” said Amber Gray, a resident in the neighborhood. “We don’t even walk on that side of the street.”
The lot is littered with trash, and neighbors say it would be nice if the city could clean it up.
“When this occurred lots of people joined together and really felt that something should be done on this vacant parcel of land,” said City Councilor Klarissa Peña.
She wants the city to pay $100,000 to buy the property to build a memorial for the victims and a community facility.
“Maybe do some type of community office, somewhere where kids in the neighborhood could come and find a safe haven,” Peña said.
City Council is expected to vote Monday on the purchase.
If approved, Peña said the community could help decide what it should look like during public meetings.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Gray said. “It’s empty space and a lot of homeless people vagrants are always going through there. I think they should do something for the children. There’s so many kids that live in all these apartments here.”
In fact, the accused teen killers lived nearby, investigators said. The family of one of them living only a few hundred feet from the crime scene.
“I think it would help to maybe change that neighborhood around,” Peña said.
Gilbert Tafoya admitted to the murder, agreeing to testify against his friends in exchange for a sentence of up to 20 years.
A judge sentenced Alex Rios to nearly 70 years for the deadly beatings.
A trial for the third accomplice, Nathaniel Carrillo, is scheduled for September.
Councilor Peña is also requesting $350,000 to build a memorial park in honor of the West Mesa murders.
It would be near 118th Street and Dennis Chavez where the remains of eleven women, one of whom was pregnant, were discovered.
News 13 got a lot of feedback from viewers after posting about the proposal Wednesday.
Critics say the plan for a memorial is a waste of money, that it’s not something people want to remember.
Councilor Peña disagrees.
“It’s kind of shocking to think that somebody would feel that way about memorializing these women that were tragically murdered over a span of time,” Peña said.
The City would plant a trees at the park in honor of each of the victims.