Rio Grande Sun

This story originally appeared in the Rio Grande Sun, an independent community newspaper. It is republished here with permission as a part of our commitment to bringing you the best in New Mexico’s local, independent news (even if we don’t write it).

The 23-year-old man accused of shooting Spokane, Washington activist Jacob Johns at a protest over the reinstallation of the Don Juan de Oñate statue Sept. 28 at the Rio Arriba County Complex, will remain in jail until his trial.

During Ryan Martinez’s hearing in Tierra Amarilla District Court on Friday, Judge Jason Lidyard also found probable cause to move forward with the attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges Martinez faces. 

In addition to being accused of shooting Johns, Martinez is also accused of pointing a gun at Malaya Peixinho, 23.

Witnesses to the shooting, along with police officers, testified during the hearing. 

As Lidyard heard the testimony, Martinez sat handcuffed and shackled at a table in the courtroom. He appeared emotional as the video of the shooting was played for the judge and those in the courtroom.

At around 3 p.m. Lidyard announced his decision and a sigh was let out on the right side of the courtroom, which was occupied by those supporting Peixinho and the other protesters on the day of the incident. Peixinho’s father, Mateo, who was sitting several rows in front of her, turned around and gave his relieved daughter the thumbs up — before making his way back to her to hug her. With friends on either side of her, Malaya Peixinho looked around at her friends and family and smiled. 

A week before the shooting, Rio Arriba County officials announced that the controversial Oñate statue would once again be put on display — this time, in front of the Rio Arriba County Complex on Industrial Park Road. In 2020, it was removed from its location at the Oñate Center in Alcalde.

On Sept. 29, Martinez was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault for the alleged shooting, as well as aggravated assault (use of a deadly weapon), which stems from Martinez allegedly striking Malaya Pixinho with a 9mm handgun, according to the criminal complaint filed against him on Sept. 30 in Rio Arriba Magistrate Court.

More details to come at

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