The Albuquerque Police Department’s fourth officer-involved shooting since late October unfolded Sunday afternoon in the Northeast Heights, leaving the suspect critically injured after at least two officers fired shots during the confrontation.
APD Chief Allen Banks said the man who was shot had at least 12 felony warrants, but didn’t release his identity or offer any information about the warrants. He did not say how many shots were fired, or where the suspect was hit, and it’s unclear if the suspect was armed.
One of the officers “did call out that there was a gun,” he said, but police had not confirmed that a gun was present as of Sunday evening.
“There were multiple officers who did discharge their firearms based on the threat that they saw,” Banks said.
But he would not elaborate on what exactly the threat was, because it’s still being investigated. He said details would likely be released later this week. He said he did not know to which hospital the man was taken, although he said that normally in such situations, people are taken to University of New Mexico Hospital.
It was APD’s seventh officer-involved shooting of the year.
The incident began when officers responded to a domestic disturbance in the 1400 block of Virginia NE around 2 p.m.
A woman there gave police a description of the man who was later shot.
“She asked for officers to respond and wanted this subject to go to jail,” Banks said.
Banks said that when officers found the man at Wyoming and Northeastern, the conflict ensued.
Alfred Garcia, who works at Furr’s Fresh Buffet across from where the shooting happened, said he was getting ready for work around 2:45 p.m. in his apartment a block away when he heard between 12 to 15 shots fired.
“I’m glad I wasn’t out there,” Garcia said.
Jamie Forness, of Belen, was at her nephew’s birthday party at her sister’s home nearby when she heard the shots.
“We didn’t know what happened,” Forness said. “It’s scary; this is really close to home.”
Wyoming was closed from Indian School to Menaul until after 10 o’clock Sunday night.
A black backpack could be seen on the sidewalk at the intersection where police said the shooting occurred.
Sunday’s incident comes a little more than two weeks after another police shooting, in which a veteran APD officer wounded Robert “Bobby” Garcia Sr., who had been stopped for suspicion of drunken driving on Nov. 15.
That scenario, Banks said a week later when Garcia was identified and details were made public, was planned by Garcia, who wanted to commit “suicide by cop.” Garcia approached the officer with a pellet gun in hand and refused to obey as many as nine commands to drop the weapon.
Banks said Garcia later apologized to detectives for putting the officer, Peter Romero, in a position where Romero felt he had to fire his weapon.
An Oct. 28 officer-involved shooting in the university area wounded Joaquin Ortega, 34, who police said had been shooting from a car window in the university area and running drivers off the road before he crashed into a light pole, robbed a woman pedestrian and tried to carjack a vehicle. Officers later found a shotgun and bullet casings in Ortega’s car.
That spree was two days after Christopher Chase, 35, stole a police vehicle, shot three APD officers and a Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy, and led law enforcement on a chase the morning of Oct. 26. He was later found dead in the police car and results of his autopsy have not yet been released.