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Slaying victim recently released from Florida prison

SANTA FE – A 37-year-old man shot to death in downtown Santa Fe over the weekend had been released from the Florida corrections system only last month and was arrested many times in the past in Santa Fe.

Monday, Santa Fe police were remaining tight-lipped over the shooting of Rustin Radcliffe, whose body was found about 12:30 a.m. Saturday at Don Gaspar Avenue and Water Street. The scene of the killing is about a block off the Plaza and in the heart of the city’s tourist district.

Rustin Radcliffe

Rustin Radcliffe

Police Chief Patrick Gallagher said Sunday that four or five gunshots were heard in the area. Although no new details were released Monday, SFPD spokesman Greg Gurule said, “Things are moving very quickly as the investigation continues.”


Journal reached someone at the home of relatives of Radcliffe in Santa Fe who said that the police had indicated the case was still under investigation and that the family had no comment.

Florida Department of Corrections records show that Radcliffe was released on Nov. 11 after more than two years in state custody. The online records say Radcliffe received a three-year sentence in August 2014 on a burglary charge from Bay County, where Panama City is located.

On his Facebook page, Radcliffe described his employment as “Bum at Self-employed Panhandler,” and says he graduated from Los Alamos High School in 1997 and studied culinary arts at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in 1998. He says he’s from White Rock and lived in Santa Fe.

Dating back to 2007, criminal charges had been filed against Radcliffe several times in Santa Fe, including three cases over a period of several months in 2013.

In April 2013, he was identified as one of two homeless men who stabbed each other in a fight at virtually the same location where he was killed early Saturday, at Water Street and Don Gaspar Avenue. A tiny park at the corner is known as a hangout for the homeless and others.

Radcliffe was said to have suffered a collapsed lung. The other combatant said he acted in self-defense after Radcliffe hit him in the head with a rock and attacked him with a knife. Both were charged. About a week before that, Radcliffe had been charged with battery on a household member. In both cases, the charges against him were dismissed

Also in 2013, on Oct. 17, Radcliffe and another man were arrested for throwing rocks through windows of businesses about 3 a.m. in the Plaza area, this time on Galisteo Street, causing $3,000 in damage. The police said then that Radcliffe had been arrested 21 times since 2004 on charges including negligent use of a deadly weapon, assault, drinking in public, trespassing and panhandling.

Radcliffe entered no-contest pleas to two counts of criminal damage to property and agreed to pay fines and fees. But a bench warrant for his arrest was issued in January 2014 in the same case, apparently for failing to meet terms of his sentencing.

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