A woman who said her car was stolen after a Saturday afternoon shooting at a Cerrillos Road motel recounted the harrowing incident Tuesday, saying she and her son were confronted at gunpoint and “lost everything” with the vehicle.
The woman, who asked not to be identified out of concern for her safety, said her car was taken moments after a 59-year-old man was shot at the GreenTree Inn at 3695 Cerrillos Road.
The man, who has not been identified, remained in critical condition at University of New Mexico Hospital Tuesday. Police have not made an arrest in the attack.
The woman and her 29-year-old son, who has a traumatic brain injury, were in the process of checking out of the motel to move into an apartment in Santa Fe. She said they had spent all of May sleeping in different hotels in the area, waiting for housing to become available.
She said she was talking with the manager of the motel upstairs early Saturday afternoon as her son brought the last load of belongings to their car, a 2001 silver Buick sedan. She said the vehicle, license plate AKTL45, contained nearly all of her and her son’s belongings, including more than $1,500 intended for a rental deposit, birth certificates and clothing.
Suddenly, she said, there were two pops. Gunshots.
The woman said she rushed downstairs to her son, and the assailant was holding a handgun to the back of his head.
She said she and the suspect fought over the car keys strewn around her neck on a lanyard. She said the assailant pointed the gun at her. She let go of the keys, and the suspect took off in her car as a bystander attempted to intervene.
“At that point, we realized there was someone laying in the parking lot who had been shot,” she said. “I was trying to call the police, but I was just too shaky and too disoriented, I guess.”
The woman said she and her son are staying in town, relying on friends for rides, food and donations. She said she cleans houses in the area.
Her other son, who works, is trying to help secure housing.
“Right now, we’re just kind of in the wind, waiting for whatever money comes in from the little bit of work we got this week, you know,” she said.
Almost all of her belongings are in the Buick.
“Our whole world was in that car, everything we had was in that car. Honestly, I hope the guy, he must need help,” she said. “I hope he gets the help that he needs.
“Taking that car took our life away,” she added.
Meanwhile, Santa Fe’s professional baseball team, the Fuego, have been using the GreenTree as the unofficial team motel since the start of preseason training camp on May 24.
Fuego manager Bill Rogan said he had an unsigned player from Houston in town over the weekend but that player, whom Rogan would not identify nor give any details about, arrived Saturday afternoon hoping to secure a room at the GreenTree before working out with the Fuego later that day at Fort Marcy Ballpark.
Rogan said the player had his vehicle in the motel’s parking lot when the shooting occurred. Rogan said the shooting took place, “right next to the guy’s car,” and that at least two of his players were witnesses to the events that led into the shooting. He would not identify either player and did not offer additional details, saying he felt it was a “non-story.”
The player from Houston was not officially part of the Fuego roster and was invited to Santa Fe to try out for a spot in time for this week’s season opener. The Fuego open their season Wednesday night in Roswell.
Rogan said the player was eventually able to remove his car from the motel parking lot and able to report to practice at Fort Marcy. Rogan said the player encountered a number of what he said were “homeless people” who, according to Rogan, left hypodermic needles laying out in the open.
“He just packed his [expletive] and went home,” Rogan said of the player. “That’s another guy we have to replace.”
Rogan said a number of players had stayed at the GreenTree before settling into billeting situations made available through a host family program established between the team and its fans. Since the team’s inception in 2012, players and coaches have relied on volunteer families allowing them to stay rent-free for the duration of the two-month Pecos League season.
As of Tuesday, Rogan said only he and two active players still had rooms at the GreenTree. Everyone else had been assigned billeting situations or found alternative lodging.