SWAT team shoots, kills suspect

Albuquerque Police Department investigators gather near Tennessee and Copper NE after SWAT team officers shot and killed a man in an apartment following a domestic disturbance. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

The Albuquerque Police Department said its SWAT team shot and killed an armed man after it responded to a domestic disturbance in an apartment a couple of blocks north of East Central early Monday.

At a preliminary media briefing outside the crime scene, APD chief of staff John Ross said the SWAT team decided to enter the apartment, in the 400 block of Tennessee NE, and found the suspect armed with a gun.

“Our SWAT team officers fired shots,” he said. ‘The offender is deceased inside the home. … The shots were fired inside the home.”

Ross said detectives are still investigating what prompted officers to fire, but he said the “other party to the initial domestic disturbance was in the home at the time (the SWAT team entered).” He said that person was not injured.

“That part is still under investigation,” he said. “As the day plays out, as the interviews play out, they will have more information for us.”

He did not say how many officers opened fire or how many are now on paid administrative leave, which is standard after police shootings. An APD spokesman said he did not have that information either.

The man who was shot has not been publicly identified, and police have not provided many details about the original call or the other person who was involved.

Ross said that around 2 a.m., officers with the Southeast Area Command were called to the apartment complex because of a domestic disturbance.

“On their arrival, they encountered an offender with a firearm,” Ross said. “Based on that, the field officers contacted our SWAT team.”

The SWAT team was called out around 4:30 a.m., and over the next two hours detectives obtained a search warrant and an arrest warrant and decided to send tactical officers into the home.

The officers shot the suspect around 6:30 a.m., killing him.

The Multi Agency Task Force – made up of APD, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and the New Mexico State Police – is investigating the shooting.

“It’s going to take hours on end,” Ross said. “They have to talk to the officers, have to talk to witnesses. It’s going to be a little longer before we have more information.”

Parents escort their kids past the scene where the Albuquerque Police Department is investigating a fatal officer involved shooting in an apartment a couple of blocks north of East Central. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

The incident generated a massive police presence as undercover vehicles, mobile crime scene vans, the Office of the Medical Investigator and tactical units lined Tennessee from Marquette to Copper NE.

Jesus Espino, who lives several houses from where the shooting occurred, told the Journal he initially noticed a commotion around 2 a.m. He said the officers had closed part of the street and were making announcements over a loudspeaker.

Espino said he went to bed and about four hours later was startled by “really loud gunshots.”

“I have heard gunshots before, but not as loud as the ones I heard that woke me up,” Espino said.

He said he and several other neighbors went outside to see what was going on and an officer asked them to go back inside “for a little bit.”

This is the sixth shooting by APD this year and the third fatal shooting.

On Aug. 22, multiple officers shot and killed 57-year-old Roger Schafer at a bus stop in the 400 block of Eubank NE, near Copper. The officers were responding to a call from a passerby who reported that a man was waving a gun.

APD has not provided a full briefing on that shooting but said Monday that it plans to hold a news conference Friday.

On July 2, undercover officers conducting a surveillance mission shot and killed 21-year-old Casiano Coronel off East Central.

Gilbert Gallegos, an APD spokesman, said no more information will be released on that shooting until after the department deals with federal authorities.

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