Santa Fe police have arrested a man in a motorcycle-gang shooting that led to a lockdown of Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center.
But police are not releasing the names of either the suspect or the man who was wounded Saturday. Police say the victim, a member of the Vagos Motorcycle Club, could become a target of rival Bandidos Motorcycle Club members if his name became public.
Capt. Robert Vasquez of the Santa Fe police said the medical center released the shooting victim Sunday. He received what police called non-life-threatening injuries.
“He identified a Bandido as the one who shot him,” Vasquez said of the victim. “Due to the nature of conflict between the two groups, if the opposing group does not know the victim’s name, then we would be giving him away.”
So far police have arrested a member of the Vagos gang who “engaged in the exchange of gunfire with the Bandidos,” Vasquez said.
He said police also have the names of suspects in the shooting, which took place near Camino de Gusto and Alamosa Drive.
Police were attempting to gain access to a residence of one Bandidos member near the site of the shooting.
“Apparently there are multiple bullet holes in this residence, but they [the Bandidos] were not too cooperative with us,” Vasquez said. “They would not allow law enforcement officers to enter the scene and process the investigation.”
The two gangs, which have chapters in the West, have carried on a violent feud. Vasquez said it was too early to assume because of Saturday’s shooting that the conflict between the two groups is heating up again in the Santa Fe area.
But the tension from the shooting was so palpable that police ordered a lockdown at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in case members of either gang showed up.
One woman who pulled into the hospital’s parking lot to drop off a friend at the emergency room found herself staring into the barrels of an assault rifle and a pistol wielded by nervous police officers who thought she could have had some role in the gang conflict.
The woman said it was coincidence that she was driving to the hospital at the same time the ambulance and police car were transporting the shooting victim there. She reached the passenger drop-off point in the parking lot when police turned their guns on her.
“I hadn’t gone 5 feet when I heard, ‘Stop the car!’ I looked to my left and there’s an assault rifle pointing at me and I look to my right and there was a pistol pointing at me,” she said in an interview. “I was asking myself, ‘Am I going to make it home to my family?’ ”
She kept her hands in the air as the officers trained their weapons on her. “It could have been 30 seconds, but it seemed like hours to me,” she said.
She said the two officers questioned her as to why she was following the ambulance. After hearing her explanation, she said, they apologized and sent her on her way.
Vasquez said police officers transporting the victim watched as two vehicles — a white Jeep driven by an unknown motorist and the woman’s car — followed the ambulance to the hospital.
The Jeep “aggressively” sped by the officers at the entrance to the hospital while the woman drove her car into the parking lot, he said.
“The officer [in the patrol car] was concerned,” Vasquez said. “We had a shooting victim who is a member of one motorcycle group in the hospital and he didn’t know if members of the other group would show up at the hospital to continue the confrontation.”
A passenger in the woman’s car said he had gotten out of the vehicle before officers approached the woman with guns drawn. He then spoke to one of the officers, who explained that police were concerned gang members might show up at the hospital for revenge.
“That’s policy, I guess,” the passenger said. “I think they could have done it another way. But I’m not a police officer.”
Vasquez and Arturo Delgado, a spokesman for the hospital, said the lockdown was called off at about 10 p.m. But the passenger said when he left the hospital at about 11:30 p.m. police officers were still stationed outside.
The U.S. Department of Justice says the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, which originated in Texas in the mid-1960s, has at least 2,000 active members in 93 chapters around the country, including New Mexico. Bandidos members were involved in the shootings at a Waco, Texas, restaurant in May 2015 that killed nine people.
The Vagos also started in the 1960s. That club has several hundred members scattered in across 20 chapters in California, Nevada, Oregon, Hawaii and Mexico.
Contact Robert Nott at 505-986-3021 or email@example.com.