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Around New Mexico

Man Sues City Over Shooting

A mentally disabled Oklahoma man who was shot by Albuquerque police after becoming upset over a bus ticket is suing the city.

Attorneys for Chandler Barr recently filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque stemming from a September 2010 shooting.

According to police, Barr, then 19 years old, had brandished a serrated butter knife and had cuts on his wrists when officer Leah Kelly shot him twice in Downtown Albuquerque. Police Chief Ray Schultz said Barr had lunged at the officer after being told several times to drop the knife. An independent investigator later cleared Kelly of any wrongdoing.

The lawsuit says the actions of Kelly and another officer were excessive, and that they should have waited for mental health officials to arrive at the scene. Barr had been diagnosed as bipolar and didn’t understand the situation, the lawsuit said.

His attorney, Cammie Nichols, said Barr had to undergo two surgeries.

The city attorney’s office denied any wrongdoing in court papers filed this week.

Woman, Son Die in Car Crash

LAS CRUCES — Authorities said a woman and her teenage son are dead after a crash on U.S. 70 in Las Cruces.

City police identified the victims as 35-year-old Marcia K. Parra and 15-year-old Keian Padilla.

The two were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which occurred about 8 a.m. Wednesday east of the Sonoma Ranch overpass.

Police said the victims were the only occupants of a sedan that was struck by another vehicle that apparently crossed the highway’s center divide. They said the 21-year-old Las Cruces woman driving the other vehicle was ejected after the collision and her vehicle rolled over at least once.

She was airlifted to University Medical Center of El Paso. Her name and condition weren’t immediately available.

Hoover Students Suspended

Three students have been suspended from Hoover Middle School after fears they might pose a threat to other students, Albuquerque Public Schools spokeswoman Monica Armenta said Wednesday.

Administrators became concerned Wednesday morning, when a student went to the principal with a piece of paper, on which someone had sketched a diagram of parts of the school and written “cryptic messages” that could lead one to believe whoever drew the pictures was planning a school shooting, Armenta said. There were also some student names on the paper.

Five minors have since been interviewed, three of whom are Hoover students and two who do not attend APS. The students have not confessed to making the drawings, but have still been short-term suspended and will face a disciplinary hearing officer.

Armenta said the school day at Hoover went on as usual, and district officials never believed there was an imminent threat to students. The students’ homes were searched for weapons and none was found.

Cock-Fight Dismissal Stands

SANTA FE — A federal appeals court has ruled against Doña Ana County residents who sued for alleged civil rights violations over the enforcement of New Mexico’s law banning cockfighting.

A three-judge panel of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Wednesday with a district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by eight Las Cruces area residents after authorities raided their property in 2009 and seized roosters kept for cockfighting.

The lawsuit was tossed out after they failed to follow pre-trial procedures for providing information and evidence to all the parties.

The city of Las Cruces, Doña Ana County and the county sheriff’s department were among those sued.

New Mexico banned cockfighting in 2007.

Ex-Husband Gets Life Plus 40

LAS CRUCES — A Las Cruces man who barged into his ex-wife’s home last year and stabbed her to death in front of two children has been sentenced to life in prison plus 40 years.

Horace Carlos Solomon Jr. lashed out during Tuesday’s sentencing and angrily said he was railroaded but forgave his son for testifying against him. A jury last week convicted Solomon of eight charges in the killing of 35-year-old Jenny Bates.

Court records show Solomon, 40, barged into Bates’ home in August 2011, threw her to the floor and stabbed her 32 times in front of two children. He prevented the children from calling for help, then threatened them while he drank vodka before falling asleep next to Bates’ body.

Man Faces Burglary Charges

Police arrested a man accused of residential burglary Wednesday afternoon after someone saw two men carrying property from a neighbor’s house to their vehicle on the 9000 block of Suncourt Drive SW.

Officers arrested Erik Garcia, 25, after they saw him driving a dark-colored Bronco that matched the vehicle description given by the neighbor. One of the suspects jumped out of the car after being pulled over near Vega and Bridge and is still on the loose, according to APD.

Police said they found the suspected stolen items in Garcia’s car.

“This is a great example of the community coming together and taking a stance on the fight against property crimes,” APD spokesman Sgt. Donovan Olvera said in a statement.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal



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