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Court records shed light on April police shooting

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Dominic Detwiler

An armed robbery suspect is still in the hospital a month after he was shot and paralyzed during a gunfight with officers in a neighborhood off East Central, according to court records.

Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said 19-year-old Dominic Detwiler will be charged and booked into jail after he recovers from his injuries.

According to court records, Detwiler is in stable condition, but one of the officer’s bullets struck his vertebrae, “causing paralysis.” Once booked, he will face three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and one count of robbery.

Officers responded to a home invasion around 9 p.m. April 18 in the 500 block of Vermont NE, northwest of Copper and Wyoming. A man called 911 to report a man kicked in his door and robbed him at gunpoint, taking jewelry and other items.

Police say three officers ran into Detwiler, who matched the suspect’s description, in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Detwiler “immediately became combative” and wouldn’t obey officers’ commands.

“Detwiler produced a handgun and started shooting at the three police officers several times,” an officer wrote in court documents. “The officers returned fire to stop Mr. Detwiler’s actions, fearing they would be shot or killed.”

According to court records, Detwiler fell to the ground and was taken into custody.

“He was taken to UNM Hospital where Mr. Detwiler is now in stable condition,” according to court records. “One of the bullets had struck his vertebrae, causing paralysis.”

It’s unclear whether Detwiler is permanently paralyzed. Detwiler’s family declined to comment.

A document attached to a motion to revoke probation filed in Metropolitan Court sheds light on the shooting specifics and resulting injuries. Detwiler had been on probation since September after drug and gun charges in separate cases. Three of the cases involve Detwiler selling drugs to undercover New Mexico State Police agents, and another arrest occurred when a Rio Rancho Police officer pulled over Detwiler and found him with a loaded gun, methamphetamine and heroin.

The shooting marks the second time Albuquerque police fired at and injured a suspect this year. The first was April 5, when an officer shot Pedro Escalante, 26, during a foot chase near Grove and Bell SE after, police say, Escalante flashed a gun at them.

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