ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A day after family and friends of gunned down teen left a memorial in his honor, someone has destroyed it, heightening some racial tensions.
Jaquise Lewis, 17, was killed in a shooting at the Los Altos Skate Park on Sunday night. Albuquerque police confirm that the shooting happened after a fist fight between two groups over a supposed stolen skateboard.
Monday evening, Lewis’ friends and family left a memorial in the skate park’s parking lot. But one day later, friends and family discovered that Lewis’ memorial had been burned into a pile of ash sometime overnight. Many associated with the memorial had harsh words for whoever did it, even some violent words.
“Everything’s gone, they came and burnt it,” said Xavier Stallworth, a friend of Jaquise Lewis.
The concrete pillar where the memorial was located is now blackened where the fire was lit.
“There was a bear, it’s gone, a T-shirt, it’s gone, gloves, money, flowers, gone,” said Stallworth.
In all, seven people were shot at the Los Altos Skate Park on Sunday night. Albuquerque police released new information Tuesday, saying the fight was over a skateboard and involved six victims in their 20s. Lewis was the youngest victim, at age 17.
Police also confirmed Tuesday that at least two people fired guns at the scene. KRQE News 13 has learned that APD thinks Lewis is one of the shooters involved. APD is still looking for one other shooter.
Lewis’ friends insist that the Sandia High School student was a good guy who got caught in the crossfire. They dismissed rumors that Lewis was part of a gang.
“No, he was not gang-related, he wasn’t, just like my cousin said here, he got hella love from everybody,” said one person at the memorial Tuesday.
Police said 30 to 40 people were at the skate park on the night of the shooting, but most people haven’t returned since then. There were only about a dozen skateboarders out there Tuesday.
“There’s a lot less people and it’s pretty gloomy,” said Anthony Jiron, a skateboarder.
“There’s not much people coming here anymore,” said Gabriel Urbina, a skateboarder. “There’s like nobody here.”
“No one’s been here anymore because everyone’s scared,” said Tyler Willingham, a skateboarder.
Willingham said he was there Sunday night and left 30 minutes before the shooting.
“It was kind of scary, but I’m glad I’m all right,” he said. “I’m glad my friends are OK.”
However, things are still tense.
Lewis’ family and friends equate his memorial’s destruction with a hate crime.
“To be honest, I think the racism, to be honest. Everybody should be treated equality, it doesn’t matter what color you are, white, black, red, yellow, you should be treated equally,” said Stallworth.
The group says it’s asking for justice, before there’s more violence.
“They need to be in jail right now, for real, they need to be somewhere in jail,” said Stallworth.
Albuquerque police also confirmed Tuesday that some of the people at the scene of the shooting have ties to gangs, however, they don’t believe gang activity had anything to do with what happened.
Police say one of the seven people shot is still in critical condition. The others, who are all in their 20s, have less serious injuries.