In the past 22 days, deputy Charles Coggins shot two suspects in separate incidents, killing one of them, while on patrol in the South Valley, according to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.
The non-fatal shooting of an auto burglary suspect on Tuesday morning was Coggins’ third in his almost five years with the department, Sheriff Manuel Gonzales said in a Wednesday afternoon news conference. No one was struck when he fired his weapon in 2014.
Coggins had been placed on paid administrative leave after shooting and killing a man who fled from a traffic stop on July 4, but he returned to work on July 10, according to a BCSO spokesman.
The most recent incident started around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning when Coggins, on patrol near Goff and Isleta SW, heard a car alarm go on in an apartment complex parking lot.
Gonzales said Coggins talked to complex residents, noticed vehicles that had been broken into, and then began to search for the suspect.
That’s when he came into contact with 26-year-old Charles Chavez.
Gonzales said Chavez refused to show his hands or take his hands out of his pockets despite multiple demands that he do so. He said Coggins tried to use a Taser on him but the device had no effect.
In a profanity-laced audio from the encounter released by the sheriff’s office Coggins can be heard yelling for the suspect, Chavez, to “show me your (expletive) hands.”
Chavez replies “Do it” multiple times.
In the belt tape audio of the encounter, Coggins can be heard saying “I will (expletive) shoot” and asking if Chavez has a gun, to which Chavez says, “Yeah, I do.”
No weapons were found at the scene, Gonzales said.
Two shots can be heard before Chavez screams.
Other deputies, who were close at hand because Coggins had called for backup, took down a fence in order to reach Chavez and render aid, Gonzales said.
Chavez was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He was still in the hospital Wednesday.
Gonzales said he doesn’t think Coggins could have done anything differently during the encounter. He said Coggins is the type of deputy to “shake the bushes” and take initiative while on patrol.
He attributed the shootings to a rise in repeat violent offenders.
“I’m concerned about his own safety,” Gonzales said. “That’s what I’m concerned about, and obviously the citizens of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.”
Chavez previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault on a deputy in 2010, according to online court documents, but details of the case are unclear. He had also pleaded guilty to a petty misdemeanor assault in 2014 and misdemeanor attempt to steal a motor vehicle and misdemeanor battery on a household member in 2011.
All other cases against him, including four misdemeanor shoplifting or assault charges, were dismissed.
Tuesday’s shooting comes three weeks after BCSO said Coggins shot and killed Miguel Gonzalez, 28, after he sped away from a traffic stop near a South Valley car wash and then led deputies on a foot pursuit to his family’s home.
Gonzalez, who was also known as Miguel Gonzales, was shot and killed in the backyard and a gun was found at that scene.
Deputy Johann Jareno, a BCSO spokesman, said no audio was recorded during that incident.
Coggins’s first shooting, on June 10, 2014, occurred when deputies say a suspect in a stolen vehicle accelerated toward him and three other deputies at a South Valley Sonic drive through. No one was injured in that incident.