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Fight Between City Employees Leaves One Dead And The Other Charged With His Murder

SANTE FE, NEW MEXICO – A man was shot to death by a co-worker at a busy intersection during Monday’s evening rush hour. The incident, which has been attributed to a case of road-rage, may have actually stemmed from on-going issues between the two men.

The men were both employees of the city’s Public Utilities Department. Karl Rougement, 31, was a collections specialist and Chris Vigil, 40, was an automated meter technician. Based on witness accounts and cellphone video, police have determined that both were driving west on St. Michael’s Drive near Cerrillos Road when they stopped their vehicles. Video shows Vigil pulling Rougemont out of his vehicle and a physical altercation ensuing.

An arrest affidavit states that during the fight, “Vigil was on top of Rougemont striking him with his fist. 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.”

State Police arrived at the scene just after 5 p.m. and began rendering aid to Vigil, who was then transported to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center by EMS, where he was pronounced dead. A firearm, two magazines and four spent casings were recovered at the scene by officers. Rougemont is charged with murder, negligent use of a deadly weapon and unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon. He was booked into the Santa Fe County jail without bond.

According to Gil Martinez, vice president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3999, the two had been having “issues” for at least nine months, which their supervisors and the city’s human resources director were aware of.

In a Tuesday statement, City Manager John Blair said, “This is a horrible tragedy. 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. 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 also issued a statement, saying “Across the country and here in Santa Fe, people and families are dealing with so many difficult circumstances. 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.”

Martinez cited high employee vacancy rates and a lack of empathy by city management as possible factors in the case. “There is a lot of pressure on everybody, and it’s having an effect,” he 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.”

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