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APS Police Department Needs Help Locating Witnesses in Shooting of School Custodian

Posted June 28, 2023, 4:05 PM. Updated June 30, 2023, 11:15 AM.

Paul Tafoya was shot after he asked trespasser to leave Kennedy Middle School campus on Friday.

Albuquerque Public Schools Police are releasing security video today of two witnesses  to the Friday, June 23, 2023 shooting of Kennedy Middle School custodian Paul Tafoya. At 5:47 a.m. last Friday, 47-year-old Tafoya was at the school when he noticed a few people trespassing on campus. Tafoya asked the individuals to leave the property. One of the individuals became combative and fired three shots, two of which wounded Tafoya.

The surveillance video shows two individuals on campus for more than an hour before the shooting. The video shows the two walking alone to the front of the school but does not capture their encounter with the suspect. Police don’t believe the two people seen on the video are responsible for the crime but need to talk to them to learn what they know about the case. Anyone with information about these individuals, the shooter, or anything that could lead to an arrest is asked to call APS Police at 505-243-7712.

 Tafoya, a dedicated employee, father, and grandfather, may soon be released from the hospital. He said he has bullet fragments in his neck and back. Tafoya said doctors have told him that one of the fragments is too close to an artery, and they’re afraid that removing it could leave him  paralyzed.

He said he was in disbelief after being shot.

“I made it to the sidewalk of the school property, and that’s where I collapsed,” Tafoya said. He said a young man, perhaps a teenager, and his brother helped him and called 911.

“Something like this should never happen on a school campus, let alone anywhere else,” he added. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Tafoya and his family. 

Superintendent Scott Elder acknowledges this crime has rattled the school community. “We learn daily about violence in our world, and while it is always upsetting to hear, it feels heavier when it happens to someone we know and care about. Paul did nothing to provoke this senseless violence. Like every other workday in the last six years, Paul woke up early to earn a living and go about his day. When he asked the trespassers to leave the property, Paul was thinking about the school, the students and the staff he dedicates his work to.”