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Albuquerque Police officers late Tuesday shot and killed a man outside an apartment building after they were called to the scene by a young girl who said the man had threatened her with a gun.
Police say 30-year-old Alfred Redwine fired at least one round when he came out of his apartment and an officer returned fire.
Neighbors who witnessed the shooting said they saw the man holding a gun to his head — but never pointing or shooting it at officers. They said police officers shot and killed him without giving him a chance to surrender.
The lapel camera video shows officers pointing what appear to be shotguns toward the apartment’s courtyard, and shots ring out. Police were shouting at Redwine to “Put the gun down!” and “We don’t want you to hurt yourself.”
APD Chief Gorden Eden showed reporters a revolver recovered at the scene.
Redwine, on his Facebook page, recently posted photos of various weapons and in one post talks about buying hollow-point bullets, which he refers to as “cop rounds,” and that he “can’t wait to try them.”
The shooting occurred hours after hundreds of protesters marched on police headquarters to protest the fatal shooting earlier this month of a homeless man who was illegally camping in the Sandia foothills.
At a news briefing Wednesday afternoon, the lapel video shown by Eden did not capture Redwine actually being shot, and Eden wouldn’t say whether Redwine pointed or fired the gun at officers, just that he discharged his handgun, a revolver.
The lapel camera video shows officers pointing what appear to be shotguns toward Redwine, who can be heard saying, “Why did you take my son?” before shots ring out. The first shot appears to startle officers, but it’s not clear from the officer’s lapel camera video — which faced a fellow officer’s back — who fired the first shot or how many shots were fired.
Eden said more lapel camera video will be released.
The chief also said that one officer fired at least one shot, and that the officer and three others are on leave. He said he expected to release the name of that officer, who he said was a five-year APD veteran never involved in a previous officer-involved shooting, today.
Redwine, who has served time for drug and weapons charges, becomes the 23rd man since 2010 to be shot and killed by Albuquerque Police. APD is in the midst of a Department of Justice investigation to determine whether the department has a “pattern or practice” of violating residents’ Constitutional rights, specifically through the use of force.
Police were called to the apartment complex on the 200 block of 60th Street NW shortly after 9 p.m. after getting a 911 call from a hysterical girl who claimed a man threatened her with a gun, Eden said. Police arrived to talk to a pair of adults who said that Redwine was inside his apartment.
The chief said APD set up a “security perimeter” and tried to contact him over the telephone. That failed, he said, so they started issuing commands over the megaphone. He said officers tried to get Redwine to exit the apartment for about 40 minutes.
The lapel-camera video shown at the news conference began the moment Redwine stepped outside until shots are fired around 10:15 p.m.
Tammy Redwine, Alfred’s sister, disputes much of Eden’s version of events.
Some neighbors who watched from behind windows and were within 20 feet of the shooting said in interviews earlier Wednesday that Redwine was holding a gun to one ear and a cellphone to the other when he came out of the apartment behind his two teenage nephews, who walked out of the apartment with their hands up.
Eden said the Bernalillo County Sheriffs Office and New Mexico State Police were on scene helping with the investigation of Tuesday’s shooting. It’s the department’s second officer-involved shooting under Eden, who was appointed police chief last month.
Sister tries to intervene
Redwine’s sister, Tammy Redwine, told the Journal she rushed to the apartment complex to try to calm things down after getting a call from her mother. Tammy Redwine was told her brother was in the apartment with her two sons, ages 12 and 13.
In an interview Wednesday morning, she said she saw her brother holding a gun and a cellphone. However, reached later in the day, she changed her story, saying that he wasn’t actually holding a gun and that she earlier had been convinced by other witnesses that her brother was holding a gun at the time he was shot and killed.
Tammy said she arrived at the scene and borrowed a cellphone to try to talk her brother out of the apartment peacefully. She said she spoke with a police lieutenant who “promised” her that they wouldn’t hurt her brother and that they would use only less-than-lethal options.
Tammy said she asked her brother over the phone to come out with her sons, and she said she then saw the two boys walk out of the apartment with their hands up, followed by Redwine.
“As I was still talking to him, the lieutenant ripped the phone from my hand, and hung it up,” she said.
Then Tammy said she looked over at her brother and saw him drop his arms, an action she interpreted as a surrender. That’s when she heard the gunshots.
“I watched him fall. As I saw him fall, I could see his shirt turning red, and I knew the lieutenant lied to me,” she said. “They used live rounds.”
Eden said the family has not yet been interviewed, and he said he was not “personally” briefed on what police officers might have told family members or their behavior toward them.
Neighbors who live in the same apartment complex said Redwine did, in fact, have a gun but denied that he fired or pointed the weapon.
Franchesca Coffey said she watched the confrontation from her apartment, which is across a small courtyard from where the shooting happened. “They tried to say that he shot at them? They’re full of it. I saw the whole thing. He was no threat whatsoever,” Coffey said.
Redwine’s mother this morning accused neighbors of making up the story about Redwine having pointed a gun at the 12-year-old, but the neighbor denied through a screen door having fabricated the police call, saying “I’m not the one who had the gun.”
Eden also said that, based on the fear evident in the 911 caller’s voice, it doesn’t seem like she was making anything up.
Tammy Redwine said her brother was pronounced dead at 10:45 p.m. at the hospital.
On the phone
A video shot by a neighbor appears to show a man facing the street toward police in a white shirt on a porch holding something to his right ear before dropping his arm to his side in the seconds before shots ring out. The man appears to fall to the ground after the sound of the gunfire.
Eden, at the news conference, said he reviewed the video but couldn’t draw any conclusions about what it showed.
Neighbors said they heard three to five shots. Eden said he wouldn’t speculate about how many shots were fired or how many times Redwine was struck.
Wynema Gonzagowski, who lives down the street from the shooting, said she lent her cellphone to Tammy Redwine so she could communicate with her brother, and was standing with the sister in the minutes leading up to the shooting.
“She tells him (a police officer), ‘I’ve got my brother on the phone. I’m talking to him. He wants to come out. He’s scared. He’s going to send the boys out and then he’s going to follow them out.’
“… She kept telling her brother over and over, ‘They’re not going to shoot you, they’re not going to shoot you, they’re not going to hurt you.
“The cop tells her (the sister) to tell him to drop the cellphone, so obviously the cop knew he had a cellphone in his hand. She starts to tell him to drop the cellphone, and the cop grabs the phone out of her hand and hangs it up. He hung it up. He could have talked with the guy and told the guy himself to drop the cellphone, but he hung up.”
Fabian Chavez, a neighbor who lives across the street from the shooting, said he heard family members “begging” officers not to shoot their relative and shouting expletives.
He heard one officer telling the person to put their hands up. He said he heard a man’s voice shout “(Expletive) you! Just do it!” before shots rang out.
Journal staff writers Mike Gallagher and Nicole Perez contributed to this report.