NEWS UPDATE: On May 15, it was reported that a suspect by the name Richard Kuykendall was charged with federal offenses in connection with the killing of the 3 people that he drove to Anna Kaseman Hospital. According to the complaint, Kuykendall has at least 35 arrests in New Mexico and Massachusetts. Kuykendall is being charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. The news report says Kuykendall has an apparent association with the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang and all three victims were members of that gang.
According to the criminal complaint, Kuykendall was walking in the alley and a dark-colored Chevy Malibu pulled up from behind and stopped next to him. Kuykendall tried to get in the car whereupon someone from inside the car fired several shots at Kuykendall. The complaint says Kuykendall ducked while several more shots were fired through the windshield. Kuykendall was able to get in the car and shut himself inside. A few seconds later he exited the car and walked to a nearby dumpster where the Albuquerque Police Department later found a pistol.
It appears that the Channel 13 report has confirmed my assessment that the 3 killings were a a gang related hit job.
ORIGINAL MAY 14 BLOG ARTICLE
In the afternoon of May 12, 3 people were found fatally wounded at the Presbyterian Kaseman Hospital, near Wyoming and Constitution NE. APD police responded around 3 p.m. to multiple gunshot victims arriving to the hospital in a single vehicle. Paramedics on the scene found 3 people fatally injured, one of whom died after they attempted life saving measures.
At the time, it was not clear if the 3 people were killed at that scene or elsewhere. On the northwest side of the hospital, police wrapped crime scene tape around a car, its windows full of what appeared to be bullet holes. It turns out all 3 were killed in a violent shootout captured on security camera video.
ALARMING VIDEO CAMERA FOOTAGE RELEASED
On May 13, it was reported widely that a security camera video from a camera that faces north to the street Cutler captured the entire incident in the alley that is just north of the Peterson Properties office complex building on San Pedro. The video released by Peterson Properties shows a violent shootout that led to the 3 people fatally injured being left in a vehicle outside of Presbyterian Kaseman Hospital, near Wyoming and Constitution Northeast. The video provided to the news media by Peterson Properties, shows the incident as it happened in an alleyway behind Mario’s Pizzeria, near Cutler and San Pedro NE, which is West of Coronado Mall and a few miles from the hospital.
The video camera footage reveals that around 2:40 p.m., a man in a white shirt and jeans is seen apparently walking on the East side of the ally street ostensibly minding his own business and calmly walking across the ally to the other side of the ally road behind Mario’s Pizza and he approaches Cutler street. Suddenly, and older model 4 door sedan with tinted windows pulls up from behind the man and the man is seen between the car and a private resident’s cinder block wall. The man appears to grab the door handle to get in when gunfire instantly erupts from inside the car. The man crouches to the ground to avoid being shot as a number of bullets miss the man outside the vehicle with the bullets hitting the cinder block wall as debris flies in a puff of gray smoke in all directions.
The man ducks as the initial shots are fired, he rushes bent down to the front of the vehicle and moves to the driver side of the vehicle. As he moves to the other side of the car, more bullets erupt from inside the car windows in multiple directions. The man opens the rear driver’s side door and lunges into the car. After several seconds, the man gets out, runs down the allyway, turns around and approaches the car again. He shuts the rear door and opens the driver’s side door. The man leans into the driver’s side door for several seconds before getting in, shutting the door and driving off.
The link to the FACEBBOOK video is here.
A different video, provided by Victor Segura, owner of CPR 2U New Mexico shows a person without a shirt running on Virginia Street. The person has multiple tattoos on his right arem, including a cross on his chest. He was holding what appears to be a white T-shirt under his arm. He also appeared to have a cell phone in his hand.
PETERSON PROPERTIES POST
In a FACEBOOK post with the video, Peterson Properties had this to say:
Over our 50 years of business in Albuquerque, crime has emerged as the #1 impediment to our community’s prosperity. As part of the battle, we’ve installed thousands of cameras on our properties. Yesterday, one captured what is suspected to be the homicide that left three bodies dropped at Kaseman hospital. We’ve shared the videos with authorities. Now, if only we could have a person with a career in law enforcement take charge, as opposed to a Harvard elite with perfect hair.
Links to related news coverage are here:
ABOUT PETERSON PROPERTIES
Peterson Properties is the largest landlord in New Mexico. It was established in 1971. The company has developed or acquired over 5 million square feet of commercial real estate totaling over a billion dollars in value. Peterson Properties currently owns a portfolio of 45 properties totaling over 1.2 million square feet. The company has one of the most respected reputations in the city. The company has hundreds of tenants who occupy their properties. Peterson Properties has decades of experience in commercial real estate in the state of New Mexico. Peterson Properties has developed properties from the ground up, as well as acquiring existing properties and making improvements.
The link to the Peterson Properties web site is here:
Over the many decades, Peterson Properties has always been involved with what is good for the city and has not just simply catered to City Hall interests and desires. One side note that proves this point is that the company was involved with the federal lawsuit to stop the disastrous ART Bus project down Central that has destroyed historic Route 66.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
When you look at the video, it really comes across as an apparent “hit job” that ended with the assassin’s getting themselves killed. The man is lucky to be alive given all the bullets fired at him.
The shooting has all the feel of being a gang related hit job. It is likely that if authorities find the intended target, he will be able to argue “self-defense”. He probably did more for his would be assassins by taking them to the hospital then they ever would have done for him had they shot him and left him to die.
THAT’S GOTTA HURT
“If only we could have a person with a career in law enforcement take charge, as opposed to a Harvard elite with perfect hair.”
OUCH! That’s gotta hurt and will leave a bruise. The comment from Peterson Properties was directed at Mayor Tim Keller. Mayor Tim Keller, 43, is a graduate of St. Pius X High School. He attended Notre Dame University where he graduated with a degree in Art History. He then went on to earn a Master’s of Business Administration with honors from the Harvard Business School.
Peterson Properties with its video and very short post has captured the frustration of what is going on in the City not only by elected officials but the business community and residents. Crime has emerged as the #1 impediment to our community’s prosperity. The postscript to this blog article summarizes the problem the city is faced when it comes to homicides, but there is so much more to the out-of-control crime rates. With the State and City emerging from the pandemic, it’s likely things are only going to get worse during the hot summer months leading up to the 2021 municipal election.
CHOICE BETWEEN LESSER OF TWO EVILS OR NOT VOTING AT ALL
Mayor Tim Keller and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales are running for mayor. Both are seeking public financing and will likely make the ballot. Frankly, with Keller and Gonzales, we are faced with voting for the lesser of two evils, or just not voting.
Mayor Tim Keller
Keller is the front runner now because of his incumbency, but as the body count mounts things are only going to get worse. His accomplishments have been less than stellar. The city’s high murder rate is rising even further. There will be more violent crime during the hot summer as people break out of quarantine as things return to normal. Keller has not come close to the change he promised in 2017. After being elected, Keller signed a tax increase after promising not to raise taxes without a public vote. Keller failed to make the sweeping changes to the Albuquerque Police Department, and his promised implementation of the DOJ reforms stalled so much that he fired his first chief. Keller has appointed Harold Medina – who has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes – permanent chief. Keller is not even close to reaching the 1,200 sworn police officers promised nor to community-based policing. Keller’s promise to bring down violent crime never materialized and four programs to bring down violent crime have failed. For three years, murders have hit an all-time record, with many still unsolved.
Sheriff Manny Gonzales
Gonzales brings to the table his law enforcement credentials, but that’s it. He is well-known for his opposition to civilian oversight and inability to work with other elected officials, often being at odds with the County Commission and the District Attorney’s Office. As mayor, Manny Gonzales will not listen to nor work with the City Council, let alone respect the Police Oversight Board and the Community Policing Councils. Gonzales is a throwback to the way law enforcement was many years ago before the Black Lives movement. He failed to keep up with the times by implementing constitutional policing practices within BCSO. He opposes many of the DOJ reforms. When Gonzales says, “I answer to the people who voted me into office,” he is saying he answers only to those who support him.
In all the 6 years Manny Gonzales has been Bernalillo County Sheriff, he has been conspicuously silent on just how bad the crime rates are in Bernalillo County. There is a very good reason for that silence. On April 8, the Albuquerque Journal published on its front page a story written by Journal staff reporter Matthew Reisen with the banner headline “BCSO has been silent about this year’s homicides.” It was reported that BCSO waited until the week of April 5 to report on the 2 homicides that occurred in the county and being investigated by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Further, the BCSO waited until April to report that the December 2020 death of Francine Gonzales, 36, on the West Side was ruled a homicide after an autopsy in late March.
The link to the full report is here:
During Sheriff Gonzales 6 years in office, crime has become just as bad in the county as in the city. The Best Places to Live web site compiles data on cities and counties throughout the United States ranking them in such categories such as cost of living, job market, economy, real estate, education and health and weather. Crime is one of the most important categories. Best Places to Live ranks crime on a scale of 1, low crime, to 100, high crime.
According to the data published Bernalillo County, New Mexico, violent crime is 42.3 with the US average being 22.7.
Bernalillo County property crime is 66.5 with the US average being 35.4.
THE CHALLENGES WE FACE
The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include the coronavirus pandemic, business closures, high unemployment rates, exceptionally high violent crime and murder rates, continuing mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department, failed implementation of the Department of Justice reforms after a full six years and millions spent, declining revenues and gross receipts tax, increasing homeless numbers, lack of mental health programs and little to none economic development.
The city cannot afford another mayor who makes promises and offers only eternal hope for better times that result in broken campaign promises. What is needed is a mayor who actually knows what the hell they are doing, who will make the hard decisions without an eye on the next election, not make decisions only to placate their base and please only those who voted for them. What’s needed is a healthy debate on solutions and new ideas to solve our mutual problems, a debate that can happen only with a contested election.
There is plenty of time for other candidates to run as privately financed candidates and raise private campaign donations. The commencement time for privately finance candidates to collect the 3,000 nominating petition signatures for Mayor is later and is June 8 to August 10. Privately finance candidates can collect donations at any time.
Anyone one interested in running for Mayor and who has a real love for this city and is concerned about what is happening is encouraged to contact the City Clerk’s office.
The link to the city web site for candidates is here:
BODY COUNT CONTNUES TO RISE AS MURDERS GO UNSOLVED
As of May 12, 2021, there have been 49 murders. During the same time period in 2019, there had been 28 murders. With 49 homicides in the first 4 months of 2021, it’s likely the city will break another record number of homicides for a 4th year in a row.
In 2017, the last year of former Republican Mayor Berry’s Berry’s second term, 72 homicides were reported.
In 2018, the first full year of Mayor Keller’s term there were 69 homicides.
In 2019, during Mayor Keller’s second full year in office, there were 82 homicides, the highest number of homicides ever recorded in the city in one year.
The previous high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides.
The year 2020 ended with 76 homicides, the second-highest count since 1996.
CITY’S HISTORICAL LOW HOMICIDE CLEARANCE RATES
Each year since 1995, the FBI has released annually its Crime In The United States Report. Following are the national clearance rates for the last 4 years:
In 2016, the national clearance rate for murder offenses was 59.4%.
In 2017, the national clearance rate for murder was 61.6%.
In 2018, the national clearance rate for murder was 62.3%.
In 2019, the national clearance rate for murder was 61.4%.
APD’S CLEARANCE RATE SUBSTATIALLY BELOW NATIONAL CLEARANCE RATE
For the past three years, Albuquerque’s homicide clearance percentage rate has been in the 50%-60% range, well below the national averages.
According to the proposed 2018-2019 APD City Budget, in 2016 the APD homicide clearance rate was 80%.
In 2017, under Mayor Berry the clearance rate was 70%.
In 2018, Keller’s first full year in office, the homicide clearance rate was 56%.
In 2019, the second full year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 52.5%, the lowest clearance rate in the last decade.
In 2020, Keller’s third full year in office, the clearance rate dropped to 50%.
In 2021 the clearance rate has dropped to less than 29% thus far this year.
Further, of the 75 homicides thus far in 2020, half remain unsolved.
During an August 18. 2020 press conference, Mayor Keller was asked questions about APD’s homicide clearance rates. APD reported at the time that it was making arrests for about half of all homicides. Keller had this to say about the clearance rates:
“We know that the clearance rate is a little bit lower than it has been. It’s not out of line with the national standards … But, I will say the reason why we’re challenged is because there are so many homicides. So, the more homicides there are, the lower the clearance rate is going to be.”
Absent from his comments was any announcement of increasing the size of the homicide unit. When Keller says “We know that the clearance rate is a little bit lower. It’s not out of line with the national standards”, we also know what Keller is saying is simply false. The national clearance rate is approximately 62% while APD’s rate has plummeted from 70% to a miserable less than 29%.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Given the sure number of homicides and the pathetic homicide clearance rate, the Homicide Investigation Unit needs to be increased from 11 detectives to at least 25 detectives. Further, given the units low clearance rate and past performance, more needs to be done with respect to recruiting and training.
APD is still in a crisis mode and it needs to concentrate on recruiting seasoned homicide detectives from other departments if necessary. At the very least, APD needs to ask for temporary assignment of personnel from other agencies such as the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department or the New Mexico State Police to help clear out the cases.
There is no doubt the Keller Administration will never ask for help from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office seeing that the Sheriff wants to be Mayor. The thing is that Manny Gonzales has been just as hapless of managing the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office as Keller has been managing APD.