Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT
Videos show aftermath of film-set shooting, Baldwin reaction
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico sheriff investigating the fatal film-set shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin described complacency, disorganization and neglected safety measures in the making of the low-budget movie "Rust." The vast trove of newly released law enforcement files include lapel camera video of the mortally wounded Hutchins slipping in and out of consciousness as an evacuation helicopter arrives. Witness interrogations, email threads, text conversations, inventories of ammunition and hundreds of photographs round out the collection of evidence. The sheriff says he is waiting on a forensic analysis before turning the 6-month-old case over to prosecutors to decide whether criminal charges will be filed.
Protections sought for Western bird linked to piñon forests
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A bird that is inextricably linked to the piñon and juniper forests that span the Western United States has seen its numbers decline over the last half century. Environmentalists announced Tuesday that they're petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the pinyon jay under the Endangered Species Act as a way to save the species and the trees. A very social bird, the jay is known for stashing away piñon seeds, a habit that helps propagate the next generation of trees. Piñon and juniper forests across the West already have been effected by climate change, hotter and drier conditions and more severe wildfires.
Progress made on wildfires but high winds threaten efforts
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Fire crews took advantage of a break in the weather in their battle to contain large fires in the West and Plains states but fear the return of stronger winds could spread flames further. Officials say a southwestern Nebraska wildfire that killed a former volunteer fire chief last week and destroyed several homes is about half contained. Officials say strong winds blew into southwest Nebraska on Tuesday but crews kept the fire within its perimeter and no new injuries or damage to buildings was reported. Crews in the West continue working to corral blazes in northern New Mexico that charred a combined 225 square miles over recent days. Several small villages are threatened and evacuations remain in place.
Native American leaders push for Chaco area protections
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Native American leaders are meeting with land managers as the Biden administration considers prohibiting new oil and gas development on nearly 550 square miles of federal land in northwestern New Mexico. Top officials with the All Pueblo Council of Governors said Tuesday they will reiterate their support for the proposal during tribal consultations this week. The U.S. Interior Department will accept comments on the proposal through May 6. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who is from New Mexico, cited the cultural significance of the area surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park when she first proposed the withdrawal in November. She has said many tribes in the Southwest have a connection to the area.
High court could free Biden to end Trump asylum policy
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is questioning lower-court orders that have blocked the Biden administration from ending a controversial Trump-era immigration program for asylum-seekers. Questions from conservative and liberal justices during nearly two hours of oral arguments on Tuesday suggested that the court could free the administration to end the "Remain in Mexico" policy that forces some people seeking asylum in the U.S. to wait in Mexico for their hearings. President Joe Biden suspended the program on his first day in office. After Texas and Missouri sued, lower courts required immigration officials to reinstate it, though the current administration has sent far fewer people back to Mexico than its predecessor.
Canada lynx protections deal sealed by US, environmentalists
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. wildlife officials have agreed to craft a new habitat plan for the rare, snow-loving Canada lynx that could include more land in Colorado and other western states where they would be protected. The plan for the wild cats must be released by 2024 under a legal agreement with environmentalists announced Tuesday. Two environmental groups had sued to enforce a prior court ruling that said federal officials wrongly excluded areas of Colorado, Montana and Idaho from a critical habitat designation for the lynx. Scientists say the animals have rebounded in some areas, but warn that climate change could undo that progress by reducing lynx habitat and the availability of US--Blac Chyna-Kardashians Trial, that are a key lynx food source.
Trial opens for ex-NYPD officer charged in Capitol riot
WASHINGTON (AP) — A jury has heard attorneys' opening statements in the trial of a retired New York City police officer charged with attacking a police officer during the riot at the U.S. Capitol. A federal prosecutor told jurors on Tuesday that body camera video captured the rage on Thomas Webster's face as he swung a flag pole at one of the officers trying to hold off the mob on Jan. 6, 2021. But a defense attorney said another video from a different angle shows that Webster acted in self-defense after the Metropolitan Police Department officer punched him first. Webster's trial is the first among dozens of cases in which a defendant is charged with assaulting police at the Capitol.
Police release videos in probe of Baldwin film-set shooting
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Law enforcement officials have released a trove of video and photographic evidence in the investigation of a fatal October shooting of a cinematographer by actor and producer Alec Baldwin on the set of a Western movie. Data files released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office on Monday included videos of investigators debriefing Baldwin on the day of the shooting inside a compact office as well as apparent rehearsal clips that show the actor in costume as he practices a quick-draw maneuver with a gun. Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said the investigation remains open and ongoing as it awaits the results of ballistics analysis from the FBI.