New Mexico man charged after allegedly shooting stepmom in the neck during hug at graduation

A New Mexico woman was shot by her stepson after she tried to hug him at a graduation ceremony this week in an incident that has made national headlines.

On Wednesday, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) received a call at around 5 p.m. that shots had been fired at the Albuquerque Convention Center where the Southwest Secondary Learning Center was holding its graduation.

The victim, Victoria Bencomo, was attending the graduation of 21-year-old Christian Bencomo, and “as she started to hug him, he produced a handgun and shot her in the neck,” police said.

(Video: YouTube/KRQE)

“As you can imagine, there was a lot of chaos at the time,” Albuquerque Police Department Communications Director Gilbert Gallegos told reporters, saying that there were over 100 people at the ceremony at the time of the shooting and that the victim was rushed to a hospital where she is expected to survive.

One attendee at the ceremony told Fox Television Stations that the graduates had received their diplomas and a rose to give to their “important person,” saying when she gave her son a hug, she then “heard a really loud pop.”

“A lot of people thought it was a firecracker or a balloon. We all crouched down,” Jennifer Renfro said, telling the outlet that her daughter “hid on the ground.”

Christian Bencomo has been charged with the unlawful carrying of a weapon, aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony, aggravated battery with intent to cause great bodily harm to a family member, and preventative detention, and is being held without bail at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center,” according to jail records cited by Fox News.

“Somebody came up and shot my sister…right in the neck,” said the victim’s sister, Angel Chester. “I keep thinking that it’s a bad dream that I’ll wake up from.”

Chester said that Bencomo had invited family members to celebrate her stepson’s graduation, “You know hearing the speeches of the valedictorian and the salutatorian and hearing about all the student’s accomplishments,” she said, according to KRQE.

“After he shot her and she fell to the ground, he started stomping on her head,” Chester said.

“I come to you today with a heavy heart to share the devastating news about my sister, Victoria Bencomo. On May 8th 2024, she was involved in a senseless act of violence and was shot. This traumatic event has left her facing a long road to recovery,” Chester said on a GoFundMe page set up to aid Bencomo in her recovery. “At her son’s graduation ceremony, her ex stepson approached her and shot her point blank in the face.”

“As Toria battles through these challenging times, she is not only dealing with the physical wounds but also the emotional trauma that comes with such a traumatic event. She has already undergone hours of surgery, will have a trach and feeding tube put in. Her journey to recovery will require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing support. Toria also works 3 jobs to support her children and is the sole provider. This is going to cause a massive financial burden on her,” the GoFundMe page reads.

Chris Donaldson

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