21-year-old shoots stepmom as she goes to hug him at graduation, New Mexico police say


A 21-year-old shot his stepmother as she went in to hug him at his charter school graduation ceremony, New Mexico police say.

Cristian Bencomo was booked into jail on Wednesday, May 8, accused of shooting his stepmother, the Albuquerque Police Department said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Officers responded to the Albuquerque Convention Center shortly after 5 p.m. on Wednesday for reports of gunfire, Gilbert Gallegos, the department’s communications director, said in a video posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Officers initially thought they were responding to an active shooter situation but later learned a single gunshot was fired, Gallegos said.

The investigation revealed that Bencomo’s stepmother “started to hug him,” and he pulled out a “handgun and shot her in the neck,” police said.

“We made it all the way through graduation – it was really lovely until it wasn’t,” Mary Ward, a witness, told KOB 4 Eyewitness News.

Ward told the news outlet that the students were told to give a rose to someone in the audience.

“I was watching my student, she was coming to the right of me, then I looked to the left, to the other side, there was a crowd of people and then there was a big pop,” Ward said, the outlet reported.

With more than 100 people in attendance at the charter school graduation, Gallegos said “there was a lot of … chaos at the time.”

Nonetheless, police said “bystanders held (Bencomo) until officers arrived.”

The woman was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to Gallegos. She underwent “hours of surgery,” according to the organizers of a GoFundMe, who said she will need continued medical treatment and rehab.

Angel Chester, the woman’s sister, was close by when the shooting happened, KRQE News reported. Chester told the station she witnessed Bencomo stomp on her sister’s head following the shooting.

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