Indianz.Com > News > ‘A premeditated act of violence’: Red Nation calls for safety after racist attack in New Mexico
The Red Nation: RACIST ATTACK ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLE – Oñate shooting 9/28/23
‘A premeditated act of violence’
The Red Nation calls for safety after racist attack in New Mexico
Monday, October 2, 2023

The Red Nation is calling for safety following a racist shooting that has resulted in attempted murder and aggravated assault charges in New Mexico.

Ryan David Martinez, 23, has been charged in connection with the violent shooting of Jacob Johns, a Native activist, during a peaceful gathering on Pueblo homelands in the northern part of the state. Following the September 28 incident, the criminal defendant is appearing in court on Monday morning and The Red Nation is warning that he could be released.

“Do not release the shooter!!” the Native-led group said in a press release on Sunday. “This must be recognized as the racially-motivated hate crime it is at all levels of government.”

In a video update, Melanie Yazzie of The Red Nation said Johns was shot while protecting Native people who gathered in Española last Thursday. She described Martinez, who had made himself known to media and other participants, as an “agitator” who was intent on disrupting the peaceful event.

“This was a premeditated act of violence,” Yazzie said in the video, posted on Sunday.

Ryan Martinez
Ryan Martinez, age 23, is seen in a “Make America Great Again” hat in an arrest photo released by the New Mexico State Police on September 29, 2023.

Martinez, whose home is more than 90 minutes from Española, a border town carved from the homelands of neighboring Pueblo tribes, further stood out because he was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat. Yazzie, who is a citizen of the Navajo Nation, said he was heard making remarks that confirmed the nature of his presence at the Native gathering.

“Before the shooting, the agitator was seen antagonizing the crowd, saying racist remarks, referring to attendees as ‘Indians,’ and at one point proclaiming himself to be a follower of QAnon,” said Yazzie, referring to the discredited and convoluted theory about Donald Trump, the disgraced one-term Republican former president of the United States.

Following the incident, Martinez was arrested by police officers from the Pueblo of Pojoaque, whose homelands lie south of Española. According to the New Mexico State Police, he had been driving southbound — away from the scene of the shooting and in the direction of his home, which is near Albuquerque, the largest city in the state — on a public highway that runs through the reservation.

Online court records show a criminal complaint was filed on Thursday, the day of the shooting. On Friday, the state police announced that he has been charged with one count of attempted murder in the first degree and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Records describe the attempted murder charge as being one of a “Willful & Deliberate” nature.

Man in ‘Make America Great Again’ hat charged with attempted murder of Native activist

Martinez made his first appearance in Rio Arriba County Court on Friday, but his release hearing was continued. The case has been assigned to Magistrate Judge Alexandra C. Naranjo, who is based at the county court in Española.

The hearing to review Martinez’s conditions of release is set for Monday morning at 11:30am Mountain time. Magistrate Judge Joseph Madrid is listed as the hearing judge for the proceeding in online records. Madrid’s name was also listed for the first appearance last Friday.

According to the county clerk’s office, the hearing on Monday will be available by video by going to Judge Naranjo’s Google Meet, the link to which can be found on Additionally, a phone line is available by calling 1-435-990-5280 and entering 566 754 667# as the PIN.

Judge Madrid’s Google Meet link is also found on the same page. The call in number for his court is 1-650-487-0134. The PIN is 669 390 399#.

UPDATE: The hearing appears to be available via video through Judge Naranjo’s Google Meet link.
Law enforcement has repeatedly described the Native gathering last Thursday as a peaceful event. Most of the organizers, primarily led by The Red Nation, along with the speakers, have been Native women and elders from New Mexico.

However, officials in Rio Arriba County have not taken any responsibility for the shooting, which occurred following their decision to resurrect a monument to Juan de Oñate, a colonial figure reviled for his acts of violence in the 1500s and 1600s. The county had planned to install the statue, which has been kept in hiding for more than three years after being removed from its original site, on Thursday, before deciding to postpone.

The new site of the Oñate statue — where the shooting took place — is slated to be the county complex on the west side of Española. Martinez’s hearing on Monday is set to take place in a building in the same area.

According to The Red Nation, Martinez has been held at a jail in Tierra Amarilla, the county seat. That’s more than an hour north of Española.

Johns is an activist, artist and father who is from the Hopi Tribe and is Akimel O’odham from the Gila River Indian Community. He was shot in the chest during the incident, according to an online fundraiser that was started to support him and his family during his recovery. He is being treated in Albuquerque, where he underwent at least one surgery.

A video clip from last Thursday shows Johns trying to keep Martinez away from the Native women, children and elders who were at the celebration. NDN Collective, a Native-led group that supports The Red Nation’s efforts to keep the Oñate off public property, has posted a witness account of the shooting that features images and audio from the incident.

Martinez’s criminal matter is titled State of New Mexico v. Ryan David Martinez, Case Number M-43-FR-202300421. Records are available on As of Monday morning, they did not show a name for his attorney.

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Man in ‘Make America Great Again’ hat charged with attempted murder of Native activist (September 29, 2023)