LAS CRUCES – Anthony Malone always took the time to speak to his mother. The day before he was murdered at a smokehouse in Las Cruces, Malone and his mother were on the phone.
“He sounded happy,” said Malone’s mother, Gabriela Trujillo. “He said he was doing good (and that) his mother raised a warrior.”
Malone was shot dead in the Red Eye Smoke and Gift Shop on the 1400 Block of Missouri Avenue on December 20, 2021. He was 26 years old and celebrated that birthday about two weeks before he was murdered.
A city spokesman confirmed Malone’s identity as the man who was killed two weeks ago. While the city and Las Cruces police did not release many details about the killing, a spokesman said the alleged gunman was questioned after the shooting.
There were no arrests until December 29th. Employees and managers of the smokehouse declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
At the time of his death, Malone was on jury trial in April 2022 after police said he robbed a Circle K in Las Cruces in 2019. Police believe Malone used a gun to steal $ 45 from the grocery store before he escaped. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
While the circumstances of Malone’s death remain unconfirmed, his mother said that his unexpected death left the family emotionally and financially stressful.
A GoFundMe page set up by Malone’s family shows they are trying to raise $ 7,000 to pay for Malone’s funeral expenses.
“We want to do our best to accommodate our mother’s request for his service, which is to have a traditional funeral where he is buried with our father,” Malone’s sister said on the GoFundMe page.
In Life, Trujillo told the Sun News that her son had odd jobs all over town. That included jobs in hairdressing salons and on construction sites, she said. No matter where he worked or what he did, Malone always took the time to check in with his mother.
“I would see him once a week,” she said. “He knew how important it was to my peace of mind to know that he was okay.
After his death, Trujillo said she went to the smokehouse where her son was killed. She wanted to leave an orange rose on the construction site. He knew that orange was her favorite color. When she arrived she was sitting in the car for hours. With tears down on her face, she said it was almost impossible to get out.
The coincidence of Malone’s death and the holiday season only exacerbated Trujillo’s grief. She said she couldn’t put up a tree, but she could wrap gifts with her family.
“I just wanted to skip it all and sleep and cry,” she said.
As the family continues to grieve and prepare for funeral expenses, Trujillo wants the community to know that their son is a good person.
“He had a heart. He cared about people. No matter what he did or didn’t do, he was my son. He had brothers, sisters,” she said. “We all hurt. We hurt him so much. “
Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ Just516garc.