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Albuquerque police deal with a day of mayhem

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

The Albuquerque Police Department had a busy Wednesday as mayhem broke out across the city.

There were two homicides – one of which sparked an all-day manhunt in the bosque.

An infant died at a county-run substance abuse treatment center.

A person was shot in the leg in the northeast area. And officers conducted a search for a stolen vehicle suspect off East Central.

“Albuquerque is very busy today, and all of our resources are being tied up by these critical incidents,” officer Simon Drobik, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman, told a morning news conference.

Traffic was snarled for hours at the Central river crossing due to the manhunt in the bosque. Tingley Beach and other parts of the Albuquerque BioPark were put on lockdown, according to police. The nearby Dolores Gonzales Elementary School canceled all after-school programs and bus services because of the search.

Early start

Detectives investigate after police say a man strangled his fiancée and then stabbed himself in southwest Albuquerque Wednesday morning. The man was taken to the hospital. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

The day became busy for police starting around 7 a.m. when a man called 911 to report that he had strangled his fiancée and was going to kill himself at a home in the area of Gonzales and Bataan SW, near Coors and Central.

Drobik said arriving officers found a woman dead inside the home.

They detained the man, who had stabbed himself in the chest.

The suspect was undergoing surgery Wednesday afternoon; his condition was unknown.

Drobik said police were interviewing family members and had executed a search warrant on the home.

He did not identify the suspect or victim.

All-day search

Albuquerque Police Department officers investigate the scene where a man was fatally shot outside a coffee house on Central near Rio Grande Boulevard Wednesday morning. The suspect fled the scene, sparking an all-day manhunt in the bosque. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

About an hour later, shortly before 8 a.m., officers were called to a shooting in front of Central Grill and Coffee House on Central near Rio Grande Boulevard and the Old Town community police substation.

“Upon arrival, they observed rescue attending to a male who had been shot,” Drobik said. “Rescue immediately transported the subject to the hospital, where he was subsequently pronounced dead from a gunshot wound.”

Police say there is “no known relationship between the victim and the offender,” and they were investigating the slaying.

They did not identify the victim.

Drobik said the responding officers saw the suspect, described as wearing all black and armed with a gun, and chased him into the bosque, less than a mile away.

That started an all-day search.

APD’s SWAT team, K-9 officers, open space units and the helicopter swarmed the area, scouring the eastern bank of the Rio Grande from the air, ground and water.

At one point, police said they were looking for a white mountain bike with black trim in the area, but they have not said how the bike was connected to the crime or whether it was found.

Shortly before nightfall, Deputy Chief Harold Medina held a news conference to say police had not found the suspect. He said the suspect was seen at the edge of the river and may be wearing muddy clothes.

“We had the tactical section commander on scene rather quickly, and they felt comfortable that he was still in the bosque and they had him contained,” Medina said. “But it is a large area. … There are areas we could possibly have lost line of sight because of trees and the (curvature) of the river. We’re confident that he’s in there, but there always is that possibility that he did break out of the perimeter.”

Police announced they had completed the search around 6:30 p.m. and were still empty-handed. Medina said detectives would use other means to try to identify and capture the suspect.

All lanes of Central were reopened, as was the bosque open space.

Ongoing investigation

Across town, in Southeast Albuquerque, detectives with the Crimes Against Children Unit and investigators with the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department were called to investigate the death of an 11-day-old baby at the Metropolitan Assessment and Treatment Services center.

MATS officials said they couldn’t say much about the circumstances surrounding the death, but could say that it involved a mother and her baby who were staying at the Mariposa Residential Program – a six-month residential treatment program.

“This morning a mother housed on our campus reported her newborn baby as unresponsive. APD is conducting an investigation,” the officials wrote in a statement.

The program provides housing, medical services, case management and drug rehabilitation services to pregnant women and to women who have just given birth.

The baby has not been publicly identified.

“At this time, the investigation remains ongoing and charges will possibly be filed at a later time,” Drobik wrote in an email.

Lisa Fitting, a CYFD spokeswoman, confirmed the department is also investigating the baby’s death. However, she could not say who is being investigated or whether any children were taken into CYFD custody as a result of the incident.

One on the run, one shot

There were also some lesser calls throughout the day.

Police shut down an area near Central and Eubank around 12:30 p.m. as they searched for a suspect in a vehicle theft who had fled from officers.

It was unclear whether the suspect was ever found or the search was called off.

Then, around 2 p.m., a person was shot in the leg in Northeast Albuquerque.

Drobik, the APD spokesman, said the shooting happened in the 3200 block of Montgomery, near Interstate 25.

“An individual has been shot in the leg, non-life-threatening at this time,” he said. “We are currently conducting an investigation. Drivers should avoid the area.”

Drobik did not identify the victim’s gender, say whether police had a suspect in custody or say what led to the shooting.

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