Deadly shooting Monday involved two Santa Fe city workers
Mar. 9—A fatal shooting at a busy intersection in Santa Fe during the Monday evening rush hour was prompted by a road rage incident between co-workers in the city Public Utilities Department, according to court records and the city's website.
Karl Rougemont, 31, faces an open count of murder in the death of Chris Vigil, 40, following the shooting around 5 p.m Monday at St. Michael's Drive and Cerrillos Road. Rougemont was a collections specialist in the department, and Vigil was an automated meter technician, the city's website says.
Rougemont and Vigil had gotten into a fight on the roadside before Rougemont is accused of firing at Vigil several times, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed Tuesday by New Mexico State Police investigators in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court. Along with a count of murder, Rougemont is charged with negligent use of a deadly weapon and unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon.
He is being held at the Santa Fe County jail without bond and is scheduled to make his first appearance on the charges Wednesday in Magistrate Court.
A union leader said the two men had been having "issues" for at least nine months, and their supervisors and the city's human resources director were aware of the tension between them.
Gil Martinez, vice president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3999, said department employees were devastated to learn of the altercation between the two co-workers and Vigil's death.
"This is a horrible tragedy," City Manager John Blair said in a statement Tuesday. "The State Police are conducting an investigation into the events that led up to the shooting and we will await their findings."
"We do not comment on active police investigations or personnel matters," Blair said in the statement. "We are providing all available options for our City team to access grief counseling and mental health services during this incredibly difficult time."
Mayor Alan Webber issued a statement urging people to seek counseling or other help if they are struggling.
"Across the country and here in Santa Fe, people and families are dealing with so many difficult circumstances," he said. "It's important for everyone in our community to get help if they need it. It could be counseling or other kinds of emotional healing. But please, if you need help, get help. We all need to take care of ourselves and each other."
The affidavit for Rougemont's arrest warrant says witness interviews and video of the incident indicate the two men were driving west on St. Michael's Drive near Cerrillos Road when they stopped, got out of their vehicles and began fighting.
According to a search search warrant affidavit, state police obtained a bystander's cellphone video that shows the altercation began when Vigil pulled Rougemont out of his vehicle.
At one point, "Vigil was on top of Rougemont striking him with his fist," the arrest warrant affidavit says. "Rougemont drew a firearm from concealment and fired approximately 5 times. Vigil was shot at least once and Rougemont was able to get up and walk backwards to his vehicle."
Police were called to the scene shortly after 5 p.m. and began rendering aid to Vigil, the document says. Emergency medical personnel then transported Vigil to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Officers recovered a firearm, two magazines and four fired casings from the scene.
When investigators attempted to interview Rougemont, he requested an attorney, the affidavit says.
Social media comments indicate several people witnessed all or part of the deadly encounter and the response by state police officers, who had been helping respond to calls within the city to give Santa Fe police time to grieve Officer Robert Duran, who died in a crash March 2 while pursing a wrong-way driver on Interstate 25.
Vigil is a 2000 graduate of Capital High School and had worked at the city since 2005, according to his Facebook page. He was engaged to be married. Attempts to reach is fiancée Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Rougemont's Facebook page says he attended Pecos High School.
Court records show Rougemont filed a personal injury complaint against the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy in 2015 claiming an instructor injured his neck and back while demonstrating a defensive tactic on him while he was a cadet at the academy in 2014.
The state paid Rougemont $150,000 in 2018 to drop the lawsuit, according to the online New Mexico Sunshine Portal.
He was "reemployed by the city" in 2018, a spokeswoman said.
Martinez believes working conditions in the city may have played a role in Monday's violence. He said high employee vacancy rates and a lack of empathy by city management has taken a toll on the labor force.
"There is a lot of pressure on everybody, and it's having an effect," Martinez said. "Rank and file employees within the city are so short-staffed, everybody is on edge. So when someone looks at you wrong, you feel like punching them in the face."
The city's Public Utilities Department, where the men worked, is among the worst, Martinez said, and has been plagued with disciplinary actions, suspensions and terminations, "one right after another — it never ends."
He was underwhelmed by the city's response, Martinez added.
The city should have had grief counselors at the office Tuesday morning, he said, but instead officials sent out a midafternoon email with some "self-care strategies" suggested by the city's health insurance company.
"There is no compassion," Martinez said. "It's just not there. They should have had someone there to deal with it. The bottom line is this administration, they haven't cared about their employees. There is not a human side to the way they manage the city. They don't listen to anybody. If there is personnel issues, if there are conflicts, it doesn't matter to them."