ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A man was recovering in an Albuquerque hospital Sunday after at least one Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputy opened fire while responding to a domestic violence call in the East Mountains.
This is the fifth deputy-involved shooting for the sheriff’s office since July 4.
Sheriff Manuel Gonzales said at a news conference Sunday afternoon that it is not yet clear how many deputies fired or how many shots were fired. He said four or five deputies could be placed on administrative leave, though the decision hadn’t been finalized. It is standard practice for those involved in a shooting to be placed on administrative leave.
Gonzales said that deputies responded around 3:30 p.m. to a domestic violence call involving a person armed with a gun at a home on Roberts, which is located off of Frost, northeast of Cedar Crest.
“They identified a young male on the property with a firearm,” he said. “There was a shot fired by deputies. It’s unknown the number of rounds at this time.”
It’s not clear what led to the shooting, but Gonzales said a man in his early 20s was hit and was being treated for injuries that were not life-threatening at the University of New Mexico Hospital. He did not know whether the man would face criminal charges, or whether the sheriff’s office had responded to similar calls at that home in the past.
“We’d also like to extend our thoughts and prayers for recovery to the offender in this incident,” Gonzales said.
Several marked and unmarked law enforcement vehicles, along with a mobile incident command trailer, were parked at the intersection of Roberts and Frost blocking vehicles from turning onto the dead-end dirt road.
The incident is the latest in a series of law enforcement shootings in and around Albuquerque over the past several weeks.
Since July 4 and including Sunday’s shooting, the sheriff’s office alone has been involved in five shootings, two of which were fatal, two of which resulted in injuries to civilians and a deputy, and one of which involved no injuries.
FBI agents were involved in a shooting Aug. 4 that left one person injured. An Albuquerque officer on July 31 shot and killed a man who pointed a gun at him.
Sunday’s shooting brings this year’s total law enforcement shooting incidents in the metro area to 14, seven of them fatal.
Gonzales emphasized that his office has not been involved in any “controversial shootings,” and he said he had confidence in his deputies, who he said were “highly trained, highly motivated, highly skilled.”
The string of shootings, he said, come at a time when his office is seeing a rise in incidents throughout the county. He plans to ask the county commission for funds to hire more personnel “to keep the people in this community safe and all the deputies safe.”
“I think that will definitely help our cause in keeping these incidents down and de-escalating them,” he said, “because we know for a fact, the more staff that we have out there in the field, the less chances of these incidents escalating.”