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APD: Shooting victim drew gun after talks failed

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police said two officers trained to deal with people during a mental crisis spent about an hour and half negotiating with an armed man before he was shot and injured at an Albuquerque apartment complex last month.

Lambert Joe, 38, was shot once in the pelvic area and was treated at a local hospital before being booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center. He is being held on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer.

Albuquerque police held a news briefing Friday to provide more information about the Aug. 19 shooting.

Officers were called to Joe’s apartment at 219 Dallas NE after a neighbor reported seeing Joe threaten at least three other people at complex with a rifle, said APD Lt. Jason Sanchez.

Police began to arrive around 1:53 p.m., setting up a perimeter around Joe’s apartment. Officers with advanced training in dealing with people having a mental crisis started calling Joe, reaching him by phone around 2:30 p.m.

Originally, a female officer was communicating with Joe but after he started complaining about a recent breakup with a girlfriend, a male officer with similar training took over and kept calling Joe.

Sanchez said Joe was difficult to reach and often hung up on police, who described him as being “hyped up.”

Just before 4 p.m., Joe walked out of the house with a long gun, which turned out to be a black powder muzzleloader. He first pointed it at officer Ian Ross, who fired three times, striking Joe’s weapon once. Officer Richard Whitten then shot Joe once.

Police footage from several on-body cameras captures parts of the shooting but not the event in its entirety. Video of the aftermath of the shooting shows officers rush Joe and start removing his clothing to give him medical aid.

“Don’t worry about any apologies right now,” an officer tells Joe, who is trying to say he’s sorry.

Ross has been with the department for three years, and Whitten has been a police officer for nearly 11 years. It was both men’s first officer-involved shooting.

“How quickly their days change. They went from protecting themselves, to quickly providing first aid to this individual,” Deputy Chief Harold Medina said. “That’s what we ask of our officers. That they evaluate the situation and that they change their response to the situation as the situation changes.”