ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A suspected car thief died Saturday morning when police say he shot himself after officers chased him into a northeast Albuquerque apartment complex following a crosstown pursuit.
Albuquerque police spokesman Simon Drobik said the case is being investigated as an “in custody death” and it is unclear if the man shot himself on purpose.
The man had not been identified by police.
“The individual shot himself in the process of fleeing,” he said.
Drobik said the incident started when police found a stolen vehicle at Spain and Wyoming around 11 a.m.
He said when they tried to stop the vehicle, the suspect sped off and nearly rammed an APD sergeant. Officers followed the suspect using Starchase, a tracking device that sticks to a fleeing vehicle, to help avoid a pursuit.
Drobik said police tracked the suspect until he slammed into a parked truck near Edith and Lomas NE and ran toward a nearby apartment complex.
He said that, as officers gave chase, the suspect pulled out a gun and “a shot was heard” before he crawled through an apartment window and started “screaming for help.”
Police found him in the apartment with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
A neighbor at the complex, Ruben Montoya, said he was getting ready to leave when he heard a crash.
“Shortly after, I heard the gunshot,” he said. “That’s when all hell broke loose.”
Montoya opened his front door after the man ran by, and officers asked him, “Where’d he go? Where’d he go?”
“Lucky I didn’t run into him coming out when it happened,” he said. “It freaked me out.”