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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The former CEO of a rural hospital in northwestern New Mexico is alleging in a lawsuit that his contract was unfairly terminated in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Filed in federal court on Thursday, the lawsuit from David Conejo and his hospital management company takes aim at the board chairwoman and medical staff at Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital in Gallup. Doctors and nurses at Rehoboth staged a public protest in May to criticize staffing levels and call for the ouster of Conejo. The lawsuit seeks payment for damages to Conejo's reputation and loss of earnings.


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A rare frog has been found beyond its known range in the U.S. Southwest. A U.S. Forest Service volunteer recently photographed a Chiricahua leopard frog in an earthen stock tank near the town of Camp Verde in central Arizona. The agency says biologists later confirmed that at least 10 of the frogs were living there. Biologists plan to visit the area to determine if there are more. The aquatic frogs were thought to be only in eastern Arizona, western New Mexico and northern Mexico but historically were more widespread. The frogs' numbers have declined because of habitat loss, disease and predators.


DEMING, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau has been asked by authorities in Deming to investigate the death of a man shot by police earlier this month. Police responded to a domestic disturbance in Deming on July 14. They say 28-year-old Julio Jaramillo stole a cellphone from a man at gunpoint and then hid behind a warehouse. Several police officers responded and told Jaramillo to drop the weapon. They say Jaramillo came out from behind the building, walked toward the officers, lifted his gun and started shooting. Police say the officers returned fire, striking Jaramillo. He was taken to a hospital and later died. None of the four officers involved were injured.  


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico authorities are investigating a deadly shooting at an auto shop after a man who refused to wear a mask tried to run over the shop owner's son and crashed into a vehicle before driving off. An incident report written by Bernalillo County sheriff's deputies say as they were searching for the man, they received a call from the shop owner saying the man had returned and that his son had shot someone. Deputies found two men on the ground. One didn't have a pulse. Albuquerque police have taken over the investigation. Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos declined to release more details, saying detectives were interviewing additional people.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is hitting the pause button on reopening public schools this fall, meaning classes will be virtual at least through Sept. 7. State public education officials initially proposed a hybrid plan combining in-person classroom time with remote online learning. But the governor said Thursday that the rates of spread and positivity for the coronavirus are troubling. Districts representing more than 40% of the state's students already had requested a virtual start to the school year. The governor says another 343 COVID-19 cases have been reported, marking the state's all-time daily high since the pandemic started. The statewide case total stands at 18,163. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some New Mexico forests are rolling back bans on campfires as the summer rainy season sets in. Officials with the Lincoln and Gila national forests cited the onset of monsoons as the reason for rescinding fire restrictions on the southern New Mexico forests. Still, forest managers are warning people that they still need to be careful and to extinguish campfires before leaving a campsite. Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque say a another round of showers and thunderstorms is likely for much of the state Thursday. All of New Mexico is dealing with some form of drought, with the northern border and spots in eastern New Mexico faring the worst.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's attorney general is taking over the investigation of whether deputies should face charges in the shooting death of a mentally ill woman. The Albuquerque Journal reported Wednesday that Attorney General Hector Balderas said the family of Elisha Lucero asked him to take over the review. Authorities responded to the family's home in July 2019 after a relative called 911 saying Lucero, 28, had hit her uncle. The relative told authorities Lucero was mentally ill. Lucero later ran out screaming with a knife. In response, three deputies fired their weapons. She was shot 21 times.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — President Trump is focusing on an open wound in the law enforcement community as he announces a surge in federal agents to cities including Albuquerque and Chicago in attempts to contain violent crime. Trump administration officials invoked the 2019 shooting death in Albuquerque of the mother of two New Mexico state police officers as he announced a surge in federal agents and grants for local police to fight violent crime. The announcement prompted immediate concerns among Democratic elected officials in New Mexico of federal overreach and the potential for new civil rights abuses.