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No charges in brawl at Highland High

Officers investigate after a fight and shooting broke out at Highland High School in Southeast Albuquerque on April 25. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two parents who fought – with a gun and a bat – outside a Southeast Albuquerque high school last spring will face no charges in the incident.

Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office spokesman Michael Patrick said Juan Saucedo, 38, and Alex Placencio, 42, won’t be prosecuted for brawling with deadly weapons in the crowded pickup lane of Highland High School on April 25 as parents waited to get their children.

Caught on cellphone video by numerous parents, Placencio is seen attacking Saucedo with a metal bat before Saucedo shoots Placencio twice and flees in a truck.

The school was placed on lockdown during the incident and neither man was ever arrested. Court documents show they both have children who attend Highland High School.

At the time, Albuquerque police spokesman Simon Drobik said, the men would be charged with dueling and public affray at the suggestion of the District Attorney’s Office.

Police responded to a shots fired call at Highland around 2:30 p.m. and the school was placed on lockdown.

Witnesses told police the two were arguing in the street when Placencio grabbed an aluminum bat from the trunk of his car and began beating the hood of Saucedo’s truck before turning the bat on Saucedo himself.

Police say that’s when Saucedo pulled out a gun and shot Placencio twice, in the hand and thigh, before driving off.

“After a detailed investigation, prosecutors discovered Alex Placencio was found as culpable as Juan Saucedo in this incident,” Patrick said in an emailed statement Friday. “Though Placencio was shot, he was the aggressor.”

Patrick said both men have “valid defense claims” due to the cellphone video evidence.

He said other “potential charges” like child endangerment and negligent use of a weapon were declined after being tied to the justified shooting of Placencio.

As for the incident happening near school, where firearms are banned, Patrick said the fight did not happen on school grounds but in the pickup lane – considered a “common area.”

“It didn’t meet the statute to charge with weapons on campus,” he said.


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