ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Officers tracked down the man who they say fired a gun into a Northeast Albuquerque skate park Wednesday afternoon, striking a 7-year-old boy in the head.
Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque police spokesman, said the boy is expected to survive and 28-year-old Mario Garcia has been arrested in connection with the shooting.
Garcia is charged with child abuse resulting in great bodily harm, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and shooting at or from a motor vehicle.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court:
Albuquerque Fire Rescue was called to Los Altos Skate Park, near Lomas and Eubank, around 3 p.m. and first responders found the boy with a gunshot wound to the head.
The boy’s uncle told police he often goes to the skate park and, on Wednesday, decided to bring his nephew along after the boy asked to go. The uncle said they noticed a few people arguing over a water bottle.
The uncle told police a man was upset at a woman who had apparently been drinking from his water bottle. He said the man asked the woman “what her deal was” and she replied, “I’m thirsty and homeless. Have you ever been homeless?”
He told police the man got in his vehicle and began to drive away when he rolled down his window and fired a single shot into the skate park.
The uncle said he turned to look for his nephew and found the boy holding his head and saying “uncle I’m bleeding.”
Officers used surveillance footage to grab the plate off the pickup truck that the shot was fired from and traced it to Garcia.
They arrested him at his apartment complex and he refused to speak with officers.
Gallegos said the apartment was searched and officers recovered a handgun, along with ammunition and magazines.
The skate park has been the site of violence and gunplay before.
In April 2019, police say Steven Beck, 27, fatally shot Cody Raver, 33, when a confrontation at the skate park spilled onto the sidewalk. Beck is awaiting trial in the matter.
And, in one of the most notable incidents, a gunfight at the park in 2015 left 17-year-old Jaquise Lewis dead and six others wounded. Police eventually ruled Lewis’ death a justified homicide done in self-defense.