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APD: Man shot by officer had brandished weapon

Robert Savelli

Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal

Witnesses reported that a man shot and killed by an Albuquerque police officer Monday evening had pointed a firearm at the officer, and the incident was recorded by his on-body camera, police officials said Tuesday.

Police officials identified the deceased as Robert Savelli, 43, who was stopped for driving a moped without a license plate before he was shot. Savelli had a criminal record in several states dating back to the 1990s.

There is footage of the incident from both the officer’s camera and nearby surveillance camera video, and police will release the videos after all interviews have been completed, said officer Tanner Tixier, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman.

“We do have good lapel video of the incident that will be released when it’s available and not going to impede the investigation,” he said.

Tixier said the officer’s identity will be made public after he’s been interviewed.

The officer, who has been with APD for nine years, patrols northeast Albuquerque. Tixier said the officer is “very highly thought-of” within the department.

Savelli had three active warrants for his arrest, including one involving charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, when the officer tried to pull him over near Vassar and Menaul in Northeast Albuquerque.

Tixier said Savelli didn’t stop and kept driving north toward Phoenix, and the officer blocked the moped with his police vehicle.

He said Savelli then ran, and multiple witnesses told police he pointed a firearm at the officer before he was shot.

“It’s always tragic when you have officer-involved shooting, but this one’s pretty cut and dried,” Tixier said. “Mr. Savelli produces a firearm. Police officer shoots Mr. Savelli.”

Albuquerque police officers hadn’t fired their weapons on duty since early May. In that case, police said, a man who had just broken into someone’s home and had tried to carjack someone at gunpoint was shot and injured.

Albuquerque police are involved in a yearslong reform effort with the U.S. Department of Justice that aims to address the number of police shootings.

Last week, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputies fired their weapons in three separate cases.

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