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ATF investigating July police shooting

Albuquerque police investigate an officer-involved shooting near General Stilwell and Central. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Multi-Agency Task Force investigation into a fatal shooting involving an undercover detective four months ago has been put on hold while federal agents investigate the circumstances surrounding it, according to a spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department.

Gilbert Gallegos, an APD spokesman, said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the incident.

“The whole thing is complicated, but there is a role that they are playing in this before the Multi Agency Task Force can move forward,” Gallegos said. “They’re working together, but ATF is leading on this.”

The task force, made up of officers from APD, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police, investigates all police shootings and in-custody deaths in the county.

Police had previously said 21-year-old Casiano Coronel had approached the vehicle of an undercover detective on a surveillance mission near Central and General Stilwell the night of July 2. The two exchanged shots and Coronel was struck. He died a short distance away. The street was littered with casings and evidence markers.

According to an autopsy report released to the Journal this week, Coronel “was shot during an altercation in which he attempted to rob another man in his vehicle. Mr. Coronel re-entered his own vehicle and drove away from the scene, eventually coming to a stop not far from the scene.”

He was shot once in the chest, from front to back. The report also said the appearance of the gunshot wound suggested the bullet passed through an “intermediate target” before striking him. It is unclear what that target was.

A toxicology report found Coronel did not have drugs in his system.

The detective suffered minor injuries, but was not taken to a hospital.

Gallegos said the police department will not be able to release more information about the shooting, including the name of the detective or the nature of the surveillance mission, until after the ATF investigation is completed.

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