Alcalde park dedicated in memory of teen slain in N.M. 68 shooting

December 27, 2018

Cameron Martinez loved snow, so perhaps it was only fitting that a community park in Alcalde was renamed after him with flurries dancing in the air.

As Wednesday’s storm blanketed Northern New Mexico in snow, more than 60 people ignored the treacherous road conditions to honor Martinez — killed in a drive-by shooting on N.M. 68 north of Española in early October — at Alcalde’s community center.

Now, anyone visiting Cameron N. Martinez Memorial Park, located just behind the community center, will be greeted by a towering, 10-foot metal sign that honors the young man’s life — and his potential.

“It’s just something positive, where people can go and reflect,” said 37-year-old Becky Martinez, Cameron Martinez’s older sister. “It’s something that’s there for us.”

Cameron Martinez, a well-liked Española Valley High School graduate, was 18 when he was shot and killed in what police said may be a case of mistaken identity. Renaming the park after her brother, Becky Martinez said, gives the community an opportunity to recall his life and also serve as a reminder of what happened.

“Everybody’s doing all these beautiful things to honor him,” she said. “We hope it’ll impact change so it won’t happen to another family.”

Rio Arriba County Commissioner Alex Naranjo said he was saddened by the circumstances surrounding Martinez’s death and wanted to honor him and a handful of other individuals before leaving office.

“It’s only logical we recognize somebody who was doing so well in the community and who was taken away from us so suddenly,” Naranjo said. “It was a tragedy what happened to Cameron and I thought it’d be nice to restore some kind of honor in his name.”

The renaming of the park was approved by the Rio Arriba County Commission on Dec. 13.

For Cameron’s father, the commemoration continues to show how his son was not an average kid.

Urban Martinez described how his son was a positive influence on those around him and said many people still feel the void of his son’s absence.

“He was a very special boy, and they wanted something positive to come out of it,” Urban Martinez said. “They’re doing this for what he stood for.”

Urban Martinez said some family members who had come from California to attend the ceremony and were staying in Albuquerque found themselves caught up in the late-morning closure of Interstate 25. If they hadn’t been forced to turn around, he added, another 20 people would have attended.

The ceremony brought smiles at a difficult time. Celebrating their first Christmas without Cameron, Becky and Urban Martinez said the week has been heartbreaking. But Urban Martinez said their family is strong.

“We’re going to go forward with that and trying to do good in life,” he said.

According to police reports, Cameron Martinez was targeted by mistake on Oct. 4 as his vehicle was fired upon by the passengers of a passing vehicle. Mark Hice, 22, of Española; Anton Martinez, 19, of Santa Cruz; and Axel Zamarron, 17, of Española are accused of shooting into the blue Subaru carrying Cameron and his friends.

Each of the suspects is charged with first-degree murder. Brittany Garcia, 21, who police say was driving the car in which Hice rode, also faces a murder charge. Three other women face lesser charges.

“Justice is going to be served and served right,” Urban Martinez said. “I have it in my heart it’ll be right.”

During an Española Valley High School basketball game Jan. 10, the school will retire Martinez’s jersey, Becky Martinez said.

“We are just amazed and in awe of what people continue to do to honor Cameron’s memory,” she said. “It’s bittersweet.”

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