Police built a blind to shield the body from view at the scene of a fatal shooting at the South Capitol Rail Runner Express station Monday.

Jesus Antonio Laetz-Marin said he heard five gunshots while working with a construction crew Monday afternoon off Alta Vista Street, just a few steps from the South Capitol Rail Runner station.

Leo Schwenn, an employee with a solar energy company, was working almost directly across from the train station in the parking lot of a state building when he heard gunfire as well. He ran around the corner of the building, he said, and found an armed man pacing on the station’s platform in front of two bodies.

Schwenn launched into rescue mode, dialing 911 while trying to aid the surviving victim and gather information on the possible suspect, who left the scene in a sedan.

Santa Fe police said Tuesday that David Hernandez, 24, died at the South Capitol station, while a 38-year-old man wounded in the incident remains in critical condition at a local hospital.

Police have not yet named any suspects in the shooting, which resulted in the city’s fifth homicide in just the first four months of 2021.

They are looking for a gray or light-colored four-door sedan, Capt. Anthony Tapia said, adding the occupants of the vehicle might have seen what happened at the station around 3:45 p.m. Monday.

Schwenn said the armed man on the platform had “poofy, curly hair.”

“He had his gun and his knife, kind of walking back and forth,” Schwenn said in an interview. “He went to his car, then back to the bench where the dead guy was, then back to his car, and then he took off.”

As he was trying to take video of the car, Schwenn said, he noticed the injured man walking toward him for help.

The two were separated by train tracks, a fence and a ramp leading up to the building where Schwenn was working — the John F. Simms Jr. Building in the state government’s South Complex off St. Francis Drive.

“The second guy came walking up across this fence towards me,” Schwenn said. “I saw him bleeding. … I had my partner go get my shirt from my truck to kind of help him. [The friend] went and got it and started taking care of him. He gradually lost consciousness, and then the police came.”

The man was bleeding heavily from what looked like a bullet wound on his left side, Schwenn said.

He said he was unfazed by the experience.

“I used to work at the ER at UNM, so gunshot wounds aren’t that big of a deal,” he said. “I was just trying to get a visual of the guy and the car and call 911 at the same time.”

Augusta Meyers, a spokeswoman for the Rio Metro Regional Transit District, which oversees the state’s Rail Runner Express commuter train, said there were no trains at the South Capitol station at the time of the shooting.

The closest train was located at the Santa Fe Depot in the Railyard.

On Monday, Meyers said the shooting appeared to be “an isolated incident that, thankfully, did not originate on the train or have anything to do with the train itself.”

Data from the Santa Fe Police Department shows higher numbers of homicides in the most of the past five years compared to previous years.

The five deaths so far this year could indicate a continuing trend of rising violence.

From 2012-16, there were three or fewer homicides each year, the data shows; 2017 saw six homicides, while there were five in 2018 and seven in 2019.

There were just three homicides in the city in 2020, which Tapia called an outlier, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One homicide is too many, he said.

“Any time there is a homicide, it’s concerning,” Tapia said. “And we want to address that all of these homicides have been isolated — it’s not random acts.”

There is no clear answer for what appears to be rising violence in the city, he said. “With homicides, it’s very difficult to predict a trend or identify a trend because these homicides aren’t connected.”

Still, the apparent trend prompted the start of the department’s Violence Impact Team, a collaboration between the agency’s criminal investigation and patrol units, in March.

The Violence Impact Team is tasked with following tips on violent crimes, gathering intelligence on gang-affiliated activities and investigating community concerns.

“What we’re doing is — because previous to this we were already at four homicides — that’s why we wanted to make a proactive effort by putting together our Violence Impact Team,” Tapia said. “So we can eliminate, prevent or deter violent crime.”

Santa Fe police have made arrests in three of the homicides that have occurred this year but have yet to name a suspect in the February death of Arthur Loretto, whose body was found in a room at the GreenTree Inn on Cerrillos Road.

They also are continuing to search for suspects in Monday’s shooting. Police ask anyone with information about the incident to contact Detective Rebecca Hilderbrandt at 505-955-5265.

(8) comments

Andrew Gaspar

Leo, if you're reading this, thank you for being an exemplary member of our community. It takes real courage to act as you did.

Khal Spencer

I wonder when the survivor will be well enough to be interviewed. Sure will be nice to know motive, so we can start talking about why this happened.

Lynn k Allen

Mayor Webber, the rising gun violence rate HAS TO BE ADDRESSED BY THE CITY!

Police one are insufficient in determining the WHY and how to prevent gun violence.

I ask you to lead and institute real changes affecting increased gun violence in Sant Fe.

Joseph Tafoya

Matthew Arellano has been arrested as the perp in this crime. His 22 years old and has a laundry list of priors, which include being illegally in the possession of a firearm. Yet he was released as have many of these criminals running around with firearms in their possession. The legal system is totally inept when it comes to crime. The police arrest these people and the judges turn them loose. Many anti-gun advocates will shout that "guns are the problem"! No, it's a legal system that has a revolving door. These people don't buy guns from legal gun dealers. They get their from other criminals. Who are more than willing to sell the firearms to them. No background check required. Lock these people up and you will see a reduction in crime. There isn't much the Mayor can do until they change the catch and release system, but because the legislature has the power to make a change, they will not. Why! Because most of them are lawyers and many of them are trial lawyers. Follow the "Money"!!!

Miranda Viscoli

Leo Schwenn, thank you for your bravery. If the victim lives it will be because of you.

Stefanie Beninato

South Capitol is how it is spelled because the area just north of Cordova is So. Capitol--that is south of the state Capitol building.

Sloan Cunningham

Capital vs Capitol . Capital can be a noun or an adjective. Capital can refer to uppercase letters, accumulated wealth, or the city that serves as the seat of a country's or state's government. A capitol is a building in which the legislative body of government meets.

Prince Michael Jauregui

My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. David Hernandez, and all those afflicted by the ever-increasing plague of violence in "America".

I commend Ms. Traxler for her consistently informative and well-written efforts.

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