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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT

  • Crews work to contain 2 small wildfires on Rio Chama bosque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Crews are working to fully contain two small wildfires on the Rio Chama bosque in Albuquerque that forced some evacuations of residents. Rio Arriba County Sheriff's officials say evacuations were lifted Saturday night and the cause of the wildfires were under investigation. The fires broke out Saturday afternoon. Authorities say one wildfire was burning in Abiquiu and at least one residence was charred. The second fire was burning two miles away to the north near U.S. Highway 85.  On Sunday, authorities reported resources from the county and the state's forestry division were working to secure the fire's perimeter and mop up hot spots.  

  • Navajo Nation reports 16 new COVID-19 cases, 2 more deaths

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation has reported 16 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths. The latest numbers released Saturday night brought the pandemic totals on the tribe's reservation to 30,255 cases and 1,262 known deaths. Tribal officials had ordered a weekend lockdown over fears that a new variant could drive another deadly surge. The Stay-At-Home order required all Navajo Nation residents to refrain from unnecessary travel to help limit the spread of the virus, including a new and more contagious strain.  Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez on Tuesday announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 B.1.429 variant on the reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. 

  • Officer killed during Feb. traffic stop had asked for rifle

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Newly released information on the killing of a New Mexico State Police Officer during a Feb. 4 traffic stop indicates he was caught by surprise when a man who'd agreed to temporarily surrender a rifle instead opened fire. According to a State Police statement and video excerpts released Friday, 39-year-old Omar Felix Cueva of Deming fired at least once at Officer Darian Jarrott across the pickup truck's bed and then fatally shot Jarrott after he ducked and fell.  Authorities previously said Cueva fatally shot Jarrott after being pulled over on Interstate 10 west of Las Cruces. Cueva later died in a shootout with other officers after a pursuit.

  • Tucson officials learn more about planned migrant facility

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A U.S. Border Patrol officials has told Tucson officials that a tent-like facility planned in the southern Arizona city to temporarily house migrants will be located near the city's airport and be completed in about a month. The Arizona Daily Star reports that John Modlin said Friday in an email that the facility will be designed to hold 500 people but its working capacity will likely be 150-200 due to COVID-19 considerations and litigation-related restrictions. Modlin is interim head of the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector. Councilman Steve Kosachik said the planned facility likely will hold unaccompanied minors encountered by the Border Patrol.

  • Navajo president vetoes reopening tribal roads to visitors

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has vetoed a resolution to reopen tribal roads on the reservation to tourists and other visitors. Nez said Friday in a statement that he vetoed the resolution approved March 31 by the Navajo Nation Council because COVID-19 variants are spreading in the region and because more people need to be vaccinated to move closer to herd community. Nez also said the Navajo people's health must be prioritized over visitors' desires. The closure does not affect state highways that pass through the reservation, which includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

  • Police arrest man accused of carjacking good Samaritan

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — The family of a 62-year-old woman says she is still in a Texas hospital after a man she offered to help stole her car in New Mexico and ran over her legs. KRQE-TV reported Friday that Alyson Lyons is receiving treatment for severe road rash, gashes to her head, a fractured wrist and her legs. Her family said Lyons offered to drive the man to a truck stop. On the way, the man allegedly pulled a knife, forced her out and struck her with the car as he drove off. New Mexico State Police arrested 22-year-old Mario Caballero after he led police in a pursuit in Lyons' vehicle. Caballero's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

  • Church official warns of financial flood due to abuse claims

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A top official with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe says a financial flood from clergy sex abuse claims is coming and a settlement is the dam to prevent devastation to parishes. A letter from the Rev. Glennon Jones is posted on the archdiocese's website, saying that progress is being made in collecting donations for a bankruptcy settlement involving hundreds of allegations of abuse perpetrated by priests and other clergy over the decades. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the archdiocese filed for reorganization in late 2018 to deal with the surge of claims. An estimated $52 million has been paid in out-of-court settlements to victims in prior years.

  • Demolition of Bernalillo County's closed jail underway

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The months-long process of demolishing Bernalillo County's long-closed old jail has started in downtown Albuquerque. KRQE-TV reports that a construction company's crews are working inside the building to remove fixtures and other items for recycling or for safety reasons. Demolition and creation of the parking area is expected to take roughly 10 months at a cost of about $2.4 million. The building had not been used as a jail for about a decade. The plan is to use the property for a 150-space parking lot for county vehicles, as least until a better use surfaces.