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APD releases video of shooting by officer

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Robert Garcia Sr. calmly ignores an officer’s shouts to drop his gun, walking around a police vehicle to approach the officer directly.

A shot rings out as Garcia appears to begin raising the gun, and he crumples to the ground.

That’s the scene depicted in video from a lapel camera worn by officer Peter Romero, who shot and wounded Garcia about 2:30 a.m. Nov. 15. It matches the account provided by authorities after the shooting.

It turns out Garcia was carrying a pellet gun. He survived the shooting and later apologized to officers.

Albuquerque police released the video and others Wednesday to reporters who had requested them under the state Inspection of Public Records Act.

In the videos, Romero can be heard telling another officer – who asks if he’s OK – that he feels “a little shaky.”

“I was trying to get behind the car for cover, and he was chasing me, like, following me around the car in circles,” Romero says.

He also tells the officer that after he pulled Garcia over, Garcia put his car in reverse as if he “was going to ram me.”

Romero’s lapel camera shows him shout nine times at Garcia to drop the gun. Instead, Garcia walks around the front of the police car toward Romero, and he appears to raise the pellet gun at the officer before he’s shot.

Police Chief Allen Banks told reporters in November that Garcia, 64, bought the pellet gun because it looked like a real firearm. He had a note in his wallet that said, “Thank you officer,” Banks said.

It was part of a plan to commit suicide by cop, Banks said. Garcia apologized in an interview with detectives, the chief said.

Garcia faces a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, according to court records.

The videos released Wednesday fulfill one of a host of requests filed by the Journal since late October for records relating to recent shootings.

Albuquerque police officers have fired at 35 suspects since early 2010, and the U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into whether APD has a pattern of violating people’s rights, specifically through the use of force.

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