Albuquerque police said an armed employee walked into a food distribution warehouse during shift change Monday evening and opened fire, critically injuring at least three people.
Officer Simon Drobik said the suspect, 30-year-old Waid Anthony Melton, fled the scene and hadn’t been found late Monday.
Investigators are still trying to determine his motive.
“Our main thing tonight was to render aid to the subjects inside there and the secondary operation is to get this individual in custody,” Drobik said.
Drobik said officers were called to the Ben E. Keith Co. warehouse on the 3200 block of Broadway, south of Gibson SE, around 6:15 p.m. for an active shooter.
When they arrived, they found three people had been shot.
The University of New Mexico Hospital announced on Twitter it had received three victims and they were all critically injured. The hospital said it wasn’t going to release any additional information about the victims Monday night.
Police believe Melton fled after the shooting in a 1999 black Mazda B3000 club cab, N.M. plate 917-RSM.
The food distribution center operates 24 hours a day and Drobik said there were about 20 people inside when shots were fired – right before a regularly scheduled shift change.
“The guy is employed there so he may have access codes or a badge to get in and he probably knows the layout,” Drobik said. “That part of the investigation will happen but our main goal tonight is to get him into custody.”
Audrey Gonzales was one of a handful of people who were outside the perimeter waiting for friends or relatives who were in the building when the shooting took place.
She said her boyfriend works at the food distributing center and was walking in at 6:30 p.m. to start his shift when people fled the building saying a shooting was taking place. She said she had spoken to him briefly after the shooting and he was OK and waiting to talk to detectives.
Drobik said SWAT teams from multiple agencies, including the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, searched the warehouse for additional victims. Drobik said police were likely to work throughout the night and into the morning at the large complex.
A large police presence was posted south of Woodward and Broadway soon after the shooting and police cruisers blocked off traffic for several blocks around the warehouse. Tactical officers and the SWAT team’s armored vehicle along with the police’s mobile substation were seen throughout the area. A police helicopter circled the scene for several hours, in part because police were unsure of Melton’s whereabouts.