Police report released for Bent Street altercation

By John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 7/26/19

An incident report recently released by Taos Police Department details interviews an officer conducted with the people who were involved in an altercation near Lambert’s restaurant on Bent …

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Police report released for Bent Street altercation

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An incident report recently released by Taos Police Department details interviews an officer conducted with the people who were involved in an altercation near Lambert’s restaurant on Bent Street on June 25.

The report confirms that no bystander actually witnessed the initial exchange between the six men and one woman involved. The result is a report muddled by conflicting stories from parties who all, in some way, were involved in the fight, leaving many questions as to what actually happened during the incident.

What’s in the report

Officer Lee Evan Sanchez was dispatched to “a possible fight where a male was walking around with a knife” on Bent Street around 7 p.m. the night of the incident.

He first encountered one of the alleged victims, Patrick Trujillo, who approached him near the John Dunn Shops parking lot, followed by Trujillo’s wife, Delta Bayer, and their friend, Marshall Thompson. The officer noted in the report that Trujillo’s shirt was torn and his lips were dried with blood. He also wrote that Thompson had a scrape on the side of his face.

Trujillo, Bayer and Thompson relayed a similar story to the one they shared with the Taos News for a preliminary article published in the July 3 edition of this paper.

The three said that they were attacked on Bent Street outside Lambert’s by four men who were allegedly walking toward them shouting racial comments directed at “white people.”

Trujillo said he was beaten while Thompson was choked by another man after they had exchanged words with the group of alleged aggressors.

An important additional detail not initially relayed to the Taos News was that one of the aggressors, whom Trujillo described as “the Indian,” had a knife, which Trujillo said he pulled from the man’s sheath and tossed into the roadway.

The man Trujillo said he disarmed has been identified as Hunter Gomez, a Taos Pueblo tribal member whom law enforcement would ultimately determine to be the “main aggressor” in the altercation.

Trujillo said the fight ended as Gomez continued to make remarks about “outsiders,” when he said, “I’m a Trujlllo.” At that point, he said Gomez extended his hand to help him up, an offer Trujillo said he declined.

After the fight ended, Trujillo told the officer that he then followed the four men toward Taos Plaza so that he could keep an eye on them while his wife called police.

Trujillo said Gomez had fled before the officer arrived. The officer never encountered Gomez at the scene or a second alleged aggressor, Connor Blue, who was charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery earlier this month in connection to the incident.

Because Gomez is a tribal member, and his alleged involvement took place within an “external tribal boundary” that extends beyond the actual borders of the pueblo, his case has been referred to tribal police, but it is unclear whether he will be charged.

Blue was charged for allegedly placing Thompson in a headlock, causing him to pass out. He was also charged for pushing Bayer when she attempted to retrieve the discarded knife from the roadway, the report indicates.

Efforts to reach Blue through his social media accounts and Gomez through a relative for comment on the incident went unanswered as of press time Wednesday (July 24). No phone numbers were listed for them in an online search or in the phone book. 

A Taos County Sheriff’s deputy was able to identify Gomez and Blue by running license plates on two vehicles parked near the Taos Inn that came back as registered to the two men.

Medics also arrived at the scene, but Thompson, Trujillo and Bayer all declined medical treatment. Trujillo, however, visited the emergency department at Holy Cross Medical Center later that night, where he was diagnosed with tissue contusions and bruising.

The other two men who were with Blue and Gomez during the incident – identified in the police report as Alec Swift and Corey Klein – also spoke with the officer at the scene.

While Trujillo told the officer that Swift and Klein had also been involved in the attack, the two men claimed they were bystanders who were trying to break up the fight, which they also said Trujillo and Thompson had instigated.

“Alec Swift said they were walking down the street from the Taos Inn, one of the other males started saying [expletive], and his friends went after him,” Officer Sanchez wrote.

Swift admitted he and the other men were being “rowdy,” but characterized Trujillo and Thompson as the true aggressors.

He said that once Trujillo unsheathed Gomez’s knife, Trujillo said, “I am going to stab you,” he claimed.

Swift also said Trujillo shook Gomez’s hand after the fight had ended.

In a separate interview, Klein also said Trujillo and Thompson had started the fight, that he and the other men “were just talking and this guy chimed in,” he said.

Other perspectives

An unidentified police detective followed up on Sanchez’s investigation and began by searching for anyone who might have witnessed the incident or any surveillance footage that might have captured the altercation.

Managers at Lambert’s and another business located in John Dunn Shops – whose owner asked that her shop not be named – provided surveillance footage to the detective.

While the detective noted that “Lambert’s provided nothing viable,” video captured by the other business showed everyone involved entering and leaving the John Dunn Shops area but “no video showed the actual altercation,” the detective concludes.

In a supplemental report added to the case filed on July 3, the detective notes an email sent from a John Dunn Shops employee, who said she was working late the night of June 25. She said she “did witness three males chase Patrick north down the John Dunn Shops area toward Lambert’s.”

While Trujillo was being chased, the employee said the men were shouting, “Get that [expletive]” and “We’re going to [expletive] you up.”

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