ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday ruled as justified a 2011 officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of an armed robbery suspect.
The DA will not seek charges against Albuquerque Police Department SWAT team officer Jim Perdue for a late-August shooting in which Perdue struck and killed 31-year-old Michael Marquez with two bullets as Marquez threatened officers with an AK-47 concealed in a duffel bag.
In declining to press charges, District Attorney Kari Brandenburg and Chief Deputy DA Troy Davis found no probable cause existed to bring murder, manslaughter or other charges against Perdue.
In the DA Office’s shooting review, two statutes were cited as relevant to whether Perdue should face criminal charges: one for justifiable homicide by a police officer and one for justifiable homicide by a citizen.
The DA ultimately ruled the shooting was based on Perdue’s belief that he or fellow officers were in grave danger and that that belief was reasonable.
On Aug. 30, 2011, Marquez walked out of his apartment into a field holding an AK-47 in a blue-and-white duffel bag near Central Avenue and 60th SW. Officers believed the bag contained the rifle because Marquez reportedly cycled it once and the suspect was brandishing it at officers.
Perdue, who was set up behind a fence behind the suspect, chose to fire at Marquez when Marquez lifted the bag and pointed it at two officers who were taking cover about 20 yards away behind a white department SUV.
Because the SUV would not have provided sufficient cover for the two officers, Perdue told investigators he fired once when he thought his fellow officers were in danger and fired again because he thought he had missed.
Marquez died at the scene of one gunshot wound to the head and another through his heart and lungs, according to an autopsy report.
The ruling is the second the DA’s Office has made under a new system designed to replace the method it had used for officer-involved shootings since the late 1980s. The investigative grand jury process was criticized by civil rights advocates and by state District Court.
Brandenburg said last week that her office would review the officer-involved shootings and decide whether they were justified or whether charges were warranted.
Brandenburg stressed that the new system does not grant subpoena power to compel testimony from witnesses or others involved.
Brandenburg lamented this fact during the announcement, in her letter to APD Chief Ray Schultz outlining the ruling and in the office’s shooting review.
The investigative grand jury process had never concluded that an officer-involved shooting was unjustified.
— This article appeared on Page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal.