Candidates for Albuquerque mayor and City Council have honed in on crime as the number one issue in this year’s campaign – much like four years ago – because a weary and shell-shocked public is demanding something be done.
We have far surpassed our homicide record, with 89 in Albuquerque so far this year – compared to 20 in El Paso. Property crime is down slightly, but violent crime is up. Auto theft is down, but we are among the highest in the nation.
Against this backdrop last week came a stark reminder of how dangerous it can be on the streets of Albuquerque. According to a criminal complaint in Metropolitan Court, Xavier Marquez, 22, has been charged with an open count of murder and extreme cruelty to animals stemming from a Sept. 22 incident that left 34-year-old Shawn Lynch brain-dead and his service dog, Yessica, seriously injured.
Witnesses told police Lynch was walking his dog when Marquez yelled repeatedly “What are you looking at, dog?” before he grabbed a pistol and shot Yessica. That’s right. He apparently was upset he was being mad-dogged by the dog.
The witness said Lynch, who was on his way to a friend’s house for dinner, yelled at Marquez “you just shot my (expletive) dog,” at which point Marquez shot Lynch in the head and drove off on a moped. Police found ammunition, a gun magazine and Marquez’s ID in a vehicle he had been sitting in. Lynch died at the hospital, and Yessica underwent surgery.
Meanwhile, an arrest warrant has been issued for Marquez, who police say was “an involved party” in two other recent homicides. He also was arrested Aug. 20 after he drove his car, on fire, into a shoe store parking lot, and allegedly punched and bit an off-duty police sergeant.
If it’s the same guy, one might reasonably wonder what he was doing back on Albuquerque streets, now accused of shooting a service dog and its owner. While that’s not something a mayor or city councilor can change on their own, they can have influential voices, and there are plenty of areas involving crime where they do make crucial decisions. We only get to vote on a mayor and this slate of council seats once every four years. It’s fair voters press for specific solutions on what all agree is the most important issue this election.
Because if a man walking his service dog down the street isn’t safe, nobody is.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.