APD: Man shot by officers was armed with a BB gun - Albuquerque Journal

APD: Man shot by officers was armed with a BB gun

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Multiple callers had reported 57-year-old Roger Schafer was at the bus stop on Eubank near Copper NE one August afternoon. They said he was armed with a gun, tossing it from hand to hand, “pulling the action back” and pointing it at traffic.

By the time five officers approached him, fanned out in formation with their guns drawn, he was lying on the sidewalk, his arms over his eyes, using his belongings as a pillow.

1581000
Roger Schafer, 57

But the situation quickly changed, and three officers ended up firing at least 15 rounds at Schafer as they say he grabbed the gun stashed in his waistband. The gun turned out to be a semi-automatic BB pistol resembling a 9 mm handgun.

These details, as well as lapel camera footage from one of the officers and two 911 calls, were released by the Albuquerque Police Department at a news conference Friday morning.

“We’re still at the early stages of this investigation, which can often take up to a year,” Police Chief Michael Geier said. “Our understanding of this incident will change as additional evidence is collected. We also at this time do not draw any conclusions about whether the officers acted in a way consistent with our policy and the law until all the facts are known and investigation is complete.”

Lt. Scott Norris of the Violent Crimes Section said that around 3 p.m. Aug. 22 several officers were sent to the heavily populated, high-traffic area near the Walmart shopping center for reports of a man pointing a gun at passersby. He said the officers made a plan and approached him on foot.

“Officers wanted to avoid alerting the subject to police presence, fearing this would cause him to react adversely,” Norris said. “These fears were based on the information the officers received about the subject’s unpredictable and erratic behavior. Officers made the decision to use their own bodies as a wall between the armed male and the public.”

Video shows the officers approaching and ordering Schafer to keep his hands in view. He curses at them, and, instead, pushes himself up to the bench, appearing to grab the gun tucked into his waistband.

That’s when one officer shot Schafer with a 40 mm rubber bullet, a less lethal option. Less than a second later, officers Paul Durham, Kyle King and Randy Serrano also opened fire, killing Schafer. He died at the scene.

Norris said the officers found Schafer’s BB gun tucked into the front of his pants.

Durham has been with the department since 2011, King since 2010 and Serrano since 2017. Durham and King are assigned to the SWAT team, and Serrano is an officer in the Northeast Area Command. None had been involved in prior shootings.

1580999
Officer Paul Durham

Norris said APD will continue to investigate the shooting and interview any additional witnesses who come forward. When the investigation is complete, it will be sent to the Force Review Board – a committee that APD was required to create as part of the reform effort process with the Department of Justice.

“The Force Review Board will then evaluate the evidence to determine whether the officers’ tactics, drawing and exhibiting the weapon, and the use of deadly force in this incident met the high standard expected of all APD officers,” Norris said.

The shooting was one of six by Albuquerque police this year, and the second one that was fatal. On Monday, police shot and killed a third person, a man who they said was armed with a gun during a domestic dispute in an apartment complex north of East Central.

Schafer’s criminal history included misdemeanors indicative of living on the streets and suffering from mental health issues. He was cited for criminal trespass and urinating in public in 2015 and 2016, and was arrested for firing a BB gun because he “wanted to kill pigeons for revenge.” His police contacts also include being transported for a mental health evaluation.

About five months ago, officers shot him with the less lethal 40 mm rubber bullet after he was reported wandering around Nob Hill armed with an ax and threatening customers at Kelly’s Pub.

In court documents, Schafer listed his address as the Good Shepherd Center homeless shelter, and an APD spokesman said investigators had a hard time finding his next of kin.

Rachel Biggs, the policy director for Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless and a member of APD Forward, said the advocacy coalition has some general concerns about the shooting, but it is waiting to see the results of the use of force investigation.

“The APD Forward coalition really followed the re-write of the use of force policy, really making sure it emphasizes de-escalation and using the minimal necessary use of force possible so we can prevent really tragic, probably avoidable use of force against the most vulnerable,” Biggs said.

1580998
Officer Kyle King
1580997
Officer Randy Serrano
The BB gun resembling a 9 mm handgun that police say Roger Schafer was armed with when he was shot and killed on Aug. 22. (Source: APD)

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Emptying the Notebook: A forgetful trip to Las Vegas
ABQnews Seeker
Here are a few extra notes, ... Here are a few extra notes, quotes, tweets, stats and whatever else I could empty out of the old notebook after the Lobos' Friday ...
2
Former Los Lunas schools superintendent settles lawsuit against district ...
ABQnews Seeker
Settlement includes $200K in lost wages, ... Settlement includes $200K in lost wages, $400K for emotional distress, attorneys' fees
3
Las Cruces seeks to rename street containing slur
ABQnews Seeker
Squaw Mountain Drive is derogatory to ... Squaw Mountain Drive is derogatory to Indigenous people, city councilor says
4
DA removed from homicide case
ABQnews Seeker
FARMINGTON – A New ... FARMINGTON – A New Mexico judge has ruled that a district attorney's office must be replaced ...
5
Man who made videos of child sex abuse sentenced ...
ABQnews Seeker
Unknown girl, 6 or younger, seen ... Unknown girl, 6 or younger, seen in one
6
Video shows pastor backing City Council candidate from pulpit
2021 city election
Pastor denies violation of law in ... Pastor denies violation of law in race for District 7 seat
7
Giving the Sunport its spotless shine
ABQnews Seeker
Airport users from local dignitaries to ... Airport users from local dignitaries to Hollywood celebrities have complimented the cleanliness of the facilities
8
Two suspects killed in separate incidents Friday
ABQnews Seeker
BCSO deputies fatally shoot hit-and-run suspect ... BCSO deputies fatally shoot hit-and-run suspect in North Valley, while woman who fired at law officers was killed near Clines Corners
9
Towson too much for cold-shooting Lobos
ABQnews Seeker
The UNM Lobos were held to ... The UNM Lobos were held to 32.3% shooting and a season-low 58 points in a loss to Towson in the Las Vegas Invitational.