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Police question driver in shooting

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two men fled from the police officer who arrived at an Uptown music store Tuesday night in response to a report of someone trying to sell stolen instruments.

One man, later identified as 41-year-old Parrish Denison, was eventually shot three or four times and killed by police as he brandished a handgun outside a café after a two-hour foot pursuit. The other man sped off in a black S-10 Chevrolet pickup truck as the officer pursued his alleged accomplice.

Late Thursday night, however, police found Michael Betz, 42, and he told police he’d known Denison only two weeks before Denison asked Betz’s girlfriend, 30-year-old Lisa Robles, to try to sell a bass guitar and banjo at the Music Go Round in the 7000 block of Menaul Boulevard NE.

Police have not yet charged Robles or Betz in the instrument scheme, though Albuquerque Police Department spokeswoman Tasia Martinez said the two could eventually face charges. Betz was, however, booked Thursday into the county jail on unrelated warrants.

Denison fled on foot as an officer arrived Tuesday around 6 p.m. When the officer began chasing Denison, Betz was able to drive away, Betz told police.

The chase involving Denison ended with flash grenades and gunshots shortly after 8 p.m. at a café that shares a building with a Chili’s Restaurant near Louisiana and Menaul. Denison pointed his handgun without firing at officers at least twice before he was shot, and officers are investigating what exactly he was doing with the .22-caliber pistol at the moment he was killed.

What police know now, however, is that Denison has been a self-proclaimed member of the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist gang, since at least 1995.

City chief administrative officer Rob Perry on Friday provided several letters that Denison had written while in jail or prison since the late 1990s. In the letters, Denison uses racial slurs and brags about beating Hispanics. He also claims to have started a small “race war” between Hispanic and Anglo inmates while in prison in Las Cruces.

Denison also claimed in the letters to have had his “soldiers” handle the conflict and to have sent notices to inmates in prisons around the state putting out a hit on an inmate who had wronged him.

Perry said Friday that there is no evidence that Denison was able to influence other inmates to harm the man. Denison also claimed in prison intake questionnaires that he joined the Aryan Brotherhood while in prison in New York, but Perry said there’s no evidence Denison ever served time there.

Denison also claimed to be only a “prospect” or “member” of the Aryan Brotherhood, though Perry said he suspects the man was higher up than that.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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