Advocates demand answers in wake of police shooting

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Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

A coalition of advocacy groups is calling for a thorough investigation into the fatal shooting by officers of a man who had called police to report a home invasion early Tuesday.

APD Forward spokesman Barron Jones said bystander accounts of the shooting of 50-year-old Kenneth Reiss raise “serious questions” about how officers handled the situation and whether lethal force was necessary.

“We’re calling on Chief (Michael) Geier to be open and transparent with the community about the events that took place…,” Rogers said. “The community deserves a thorough, transparent and prompt investigation of the incident.”

Rogers asked that the Albuquerque Police Department release any footage of the incident, including from body, dash and neighborhood security cameras, to show how it “escalated to a fatal shooting.”

Officers responded around 1 a.m. after Reiss called 911 to report that he had shot two intruders at his home near Garfield and Vassar SE.

When officers arrived, according to police, Reiss fired at them before they gave chase and shot him. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

Police have said little else about the incident, citing the ongoing investigation, but videos from a neighbor show officers opening fire on Reiss after finding him behind a vehicle.

“Officers walked into a dangerous situation where shots had already been fired and an individual fired at those officers,” APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said. “Tragically, a life was lost and people are grieving that loss.”

He said a thorough investigation is underway into the facts and evidence, “including the handgun and bullet casings found at the scene.” Following that investigation, Gallegos said, APD will provide a review of the incident, including video and audio from lapel cameras worn by officers that night.

The shooting has led to an uproar from the community as friends say Reiss, part owner of a university-area bar, would never open fire on police, and criticize APD’s actions.

Andrew Benson, who knew Reiss for 25 years, said he finds APD’s assertion that Reiss fired at them “impossible.”

“I’m not one to delve into some conspiracy bandwagon, but something’s not right,” Benson said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

He said through many conversations the pair had over the years – talking about firearm bans, school shootings and the like – Reiss was always an advocate of not having guns.

“It just doesn’t seem to be in his character,” said Benson, who said he was in disbelief on hearing of Reiss’s death through Facebook.

“It’s still hard to believe. I’m still processing it,” he said. “I’ve always known Ken to be a very caring and loving father and husband to his family – to everyone he knew. He knew a lot of people and had a lot of friends and supporters.”

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