Chris Rose, Victim of Homicide

I love the expressions on their faces. The image was captured, in July 09 by Susan, a tourist, an artist, a vibrant and an empathic woman. I had watched  this photographer in tears, focused on blind Bonnie Hearn on stage, no longer able to perform with her husband. As her heart was touched, so was mine, we talked, we became friends and she mailed me these images, my favorite among her many wonderful photos. (Susan graciously gave me permission to share these images with the public.)

Sunday morning September 6th, Christopher Rose was found lying face down along the Santa Fe River at the DeVargas Park, a victim of a violent, crime.

It is disconcerting that he may have been there for a while, somewhat hidden in the brush, along a route I take all the time, so I may have passed him unknowingly. This is also the place from where I watched him steal a few roses from the Santuario de Guadalupe in bright day light only about 6 weeks ago. I chastised him for it. I figured someone ought to speak out and tell him what is not right. Defensively he mumbled that the flowers were his, and he was Christ, and he needed them to sweet talk the ladies in to dancing! I did not respond too kindly. It was obvious that he was excited and in a hurry to get to the plaza where the music and dancing was happening in full force. I had seen him there before and here Susan captured him with his grin that clearly shows his pleasure. It reminds me how music and dance can bring out the best in us  and bring us together and almost bridge gaps of social rank, age, and at least for  moments unite the fringe elements of society with the establishment.

Christopher Rose, 45, victim of a premeditated murder, stabbed to death, had arrived in Santa Fe only about 4 months prior and was considered homeless even though he had family members in town, and is remembered by at least someone as a dear and kind uncle.

"George R. wrote: I knew Chris as a friendly guy who never harmed anyone, always had a smile, who sometimes went a little overboard in his remarks to people. He was boisterous, but mostly in a fun way. He carried a guitar and was always ready to belt out a tune whether he could play it or not. He knew more pop songs than I have forgotten.
Vaya con Dios, Chris"

Sara commented in the New Mexican: "He was a sweet man. He came to Santa Fe for rehab and it didn't work. Rest his soul."

August 2. I was hanging out with my buddy at the fountain on Water Street involved in intense listening to his concerns about work. Chris came stumbling along, almost falling over my pups who, uncharacteristically, barked at him. In no time some tough looking and acting biker duds took offense to Chris and it looked threatening enough for me to insist to call the cops. As usual by the time of their arrival the tension had dispersed and the guys had moved on, no harm done.

Afterwards one young street kid came up to us and apologized for Chris, saying something like that he did not know how to hold his liquor. We got in to an exchange of alcoholism, family problems, willpower and seeking help with AA. On our leave my buddy expressed surprise that Chris had not been harmed yet by anybody, as he seemed to manage to offend others rather easily. This was said only a bit over 1 month prior to Chris' demise!

My heart goes out to all those that suffer violence, addiction and mental illness. As a community we have a responsibility to provide adequate care to the fringe elements of our society. Some readers of the news jumped to premature conclusions, condemning the police, condemning the day workers that hang out in the area where Chris' body was found, condemning the illegals and the transients and the local and the national figures in politics. I sure wish we were less quick to condemn and more readily available to empathize and to seek working solutions for ongoing problems, that are not just local, but world wide. This homicide was Santa Fe's fourth for 2009.


  1. I work with Chris's niece who was devastated by this event. She is a lovely soul and it is quite obvious, from the essence of the photos and the testimonials that Chris was one as well.

    It is SO easy to give people the simple, free gift of kindness and laughter, yet so few do so as a rule.
    It seems to me that he was the kind of person that GAVE.

    This means that all the rest of us givers have to work a little harder to try and fill the karmic
    void that occurs when someone like this passes.

    I wish the best for all of his friends and family.

  2. We remember Christopher as a regular dancer and very enthusiastic music lover at the Santa Fe Bandstand summer festival.

    As organizer of the Santa Fe Bandstand, I had to continually ask him to leave when he was intoxicated. Canuto, one of our crew members was always patiently urging him to be mellow. When he was not inebriated, he would choose our most senior dancer , Helen (as shown in the photo). We would always be touched by that. On one occasion he was so wasted and belligerent, that we had to ask the police to remove him. He saw me later in front of the La Fonda and said.."you shouldn't have done that. In the moment I chose to ignore him because he was so drunk, but I always hoped to have a real conversation with him at some point. Margaret, another crew member said " Its always people who demand such attention that need the most love".

    We mourn the loss of Chris Rose and it's a tragedy that someone like him instead of being arrested or allowed to live in the park, is not forced into treatment and rehabilitation. Our thoughts and well wishes go out to his surviving niece.

  3. Vera Scroggins9/16/09, 7:20 PM

    I knew Chris in Montrose, Pa. and he loved to dance and play guitar and I'm happy to hear he danced with the "most senior dancer" and can picture him doing it and the pleasure he had dancing and singing; love to him and Light and Peace as he continues his journey to the next realms; Vera of Montrose, Pa.

  4. Chris,how could they hurt you like they did?WHY?WHY?It breaks my heart! I can't stop thinking of the cruelty.I must!I will always remember you.Love Wendy

  5. Chris,
    I spent four years with you.During those years I saw love,dismay,addiction,care,honesty,sharing,hope,togetherness,care,thoughtfulness,distruction,fun,excitement,and things I have never seen before!!On september 14,2009 I learned of something I never thought I would have ever seen in my life.Two men took you away from all of the people who cared for you and we will never get the chance to say goodbye.I am devestated by this misfortune that has come to you.WHY? WHY? I just can't stop crying for you,Chris.I love you and will miss you forever! Wendy

  6. I met Chris many years ago when fate brought my friend Regina and I together. She invited me to Asheville to visit Chris and I was eager to join my new friend on this adventure. I had never done anything like that. When we arrived, we met up with Chris almost immediately and joined him at “Jack of the Woods”; a place that has since become one of mine and my husband Larry’s favorite places to hear live music. The next day, Chris, Regina and I hopped in the car and drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains on what I can only describe as a perfect late afternoon. I sat in the back of the car with the windows down as Chris played DJ to some of the best mountain music I had ever heard. I was grateful for the experience and to get to know him. I understand Chris may have had some difficulties in life and that it may hurt to think about that, but I wanted you to know that Christopher made such a wonderful impression on me in such a short amount of time. He was kind and welcoming to a stranger and I am sure that he was welcomed in heaven the same way. Whenever I hear mountain music or drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, I will say a special prayer for Chris. I pray that god watches over Christopher and that he guides you all through this very sad time.

  7. maryworth1@hotmail.com9/17/09, 2:17 PM

    Chris was a giver and he turned me on to so many things. Besides his love, one of the other gifts I received from him was his musical influence. His sophisticated and diverse taste in music had a tremendous effect on me. He also made me sing and play guitar chords over and over again, just so he could play lead! This went on every day for months and months. But that’s only part of the reason I became a musician. It was through his encouragement and love of my singing, guitar playing and song writing that I was transformed. Since that time being a musician is a big part of who I am. For all he gave me, I’ll be forever in his debt, and truly GRATEFUL til I’m DEAD. See you then Chris.
    With Love and Wishing You Peace,

  8. fare you well my honey, fare you well my only true one. all the birds that were singing are flown except you alone. the words to my favorite grateful dead song of all time. lyrics that played in my head, as plain as day, in the morning when i awoke. on the morning of your funeral. after having a vivid dream of you. call me crazy, but i believe you were there and always will be. you are still here but in a much better place, and for that i am grateful, grateul that you are dead.

  9. Brokedown Palace

    Fare you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell. Listen to the river swing sweet songs to rock my soul.

    Very appropriate.

    I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with three of Chris's sisters; Debbi, Sheri, and Teri. There's a wreath on the plaza and a dedication to him under the bridge at the skate park now.

    Look at for a tribute from his sisters.

  10. Chris' sisters would like to hear from two people. One is the person who lent Chris a cell phone so that he could call them. This was hours before he died on Saturday, September 5th. They want to thank him. The second is the waitress or restaurant owner who left a post on the New Mexican website about a meal that Chris shared with one of his murderers. They would like to see the writings he might have left with you.

  11. Today, walking my dogs I got to talk to one homeless guy, actually cleaning up the park at the Railyard on his own initiative. He broke in to tears as he remembered Chris and felt the loss. There are ripple effects we have no idea how far and deep they extend. om

  12. I grew up in St. Joseph, PA. I have known Chris since 6th grade. There are no words to express the loss one feels when one looses a brother. I lost a brother 21 yrs ago and it seems like yesterday. Ironicly my brother and Chris knew each other, and passed to a better place, 21 yrs apart the same week. Chris is a friend I have crossed paths with for 35 years. Wether at the Brackney Inn, Silver Lake Field days, or some music hot spot in Binghamton, I always look for that smiling goofy grin we all love so much. I will continue to always look for him and know he is in a happier, healthier and free spirited place. "Til we meet again."

    News on sentencing of the 2 perpetrators.

  14. My friend and I were recently talking about how we as a society are so hooked onto electronics. Reading this post makes me think back to that debate we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

    I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as technology further innovates, the possibility of uploading our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could encounter in my lifetime.

    (Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=!2602F0E287041CEF!106.entry]R4[/url] DS ZKwa)

    Richard Eastman, Monday March 15. 2010 got sentenced for 9 years, the maximum, for helping in the killing of Chris Rose.
    Claybaugh got a 26 year sentence last year.

  16. It's been 2 years since I lost Chris. But I think about him a lot. I guess I'll always remember him. Strong personality, great sense of humor, musical taste, chef, dancer. I always though I'd see him again. I have a few photos. That's all. Good morning lover.

  17. I am very sorry for your loss. I too think of him, almost always when I pass by the Guadalupe Church where I watched him take some roses, and also while dancing happens at the plaza and he is not taking part. Sometimes I see the lady that was his dance partner in the image here and I think of him then too, but especially so today on the anniversary of the crime committed to him. Blessings to all, to you, to Chris, and to those that commit crimes too.

  18. Uomi, how sweet of you to make this website. I'm so honored to be mentioned as the photographer of these images. It was wonderful visiting your city and see all the people mingle together of all ages and races. Chris was particularly interesting to watch as he appeared so content, in place and at peace there, hence that's why I photographed him. I know his soul and spirit continues to dance even though it will no longer be on earth. Warmly, Susan

  19. Chris, I never personally talked to you or knew you but I captured these two photos of you that circle the net the 9 days I vacationed in Santa Fe. Little did I know these would be your last days. So glad your sisters were able to see you in your final days as a dancing, smiling and happy man. Peace be with you, Susan Roghair, Tampa, Florida

  20. Edited this post today 3.12.15, still remembering Chris Rose and sad about what happened. Also frustrated about the format of my blog that no longer allows me to make desired changes.

    1. Thank you for this blog and for caring about Chris. And for remembering him still. I am so grateful! Sheri Rose(Chris's sister).

  21. Remembering Chris Rose, still, as yet another anniversary passed us by with Chris missing in action.

  22. And yet another year passes without Chris Rose. I remember him still walking toward the plaza with rose in hand, RIP.