Albuquerque, N.M. – Patrick “Patricia” Murphy, a prominent New Mexico drag performer and Miss New Mexico Gay Rodeo Association 2008, died Jan. 8 becoming the city’s first victim of a fatal shooting in 2008.
Dana Madsen, 33, was arrested a few hours later, after he called police to report a shooting at his apartment. He then told police that he had shot Murphy several times in the head after she threatened him with a pocket knife.
According to the Albuquerque Tribune, Murphy befriended Madsen shortly after Madsen moved to the city October, 2007. On the day Murphy died, a bartender at Sidewinders Ranch, a local gay bar the two frequented, said that the two appeared to be in a bad mood – Madsen because he had recently fought with family members.
“I served them drinks, and then they left,” said Wade Kuenzi, the bar's co-owner.
Police believe the two then returned to Madsen’s apartment where they continued drinking and got into a fight.
When police arrived Madsen told them “there’s a girl upstairs who didn’t deserve to be shot.” He then explained that he got a handgun from his bedroom for protection when Murphy began threatening to pull a knife on him. He said he shot her in the head twice when he saw a pocket knife in her hand. He then shot Murphy again to “put him out of his misery,” according to the police report.
Murphy’s friends told the paper that the idea of her threatening someone with a knife did not sound like the woman they knew.
“He said he didn’t want to hurt anybody, even if they wanted to hurt him,” said Shawn Arquette, Murphy’s former boyfriend of 14 years, adding that he had a hard time convincing Murphy to carry pepper spray after a mentally unstable man attacked her outside of Sidewinders in 2006.
At the time of her death, Murphy was studying to become a nurse and working as a caretaker to an elderly man.
Her friends held a memorial for her at Sidewinders on Jan. 13 and said she will be missed.
"She was an icon in the community," said Kuenzi. "Everyone knew Patricia.”
Madsen, who once faced a charge of attempted murder in El Paso, Tex., is behing held on a $1 million bond.
His hearing has not yet been set.