ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Vincent Wood, 66, had been diagnosed with PTSD, family says
Copyright © 2013 Albuquerque Journal
The man shot and killed by Albuquerque police Friday evening has been identified by police as 66-year-old Vincent Wood, who family members said was a Vietnam veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and possibly other mental issues.
Also, an eyewitness to the shooting has added more details about the Albuquerque Police Department’s second officer-involved shooting this year. Both men shot by police in 2013 have died from their wounds.
Wood was shot and killed around 7:45 p.m. Friday in the parking lot of a Northeast-area convenience store and gas station when he approached an officer brandishing two 10-inch-long butcher knives, Police Chief Ray Schultz said Friday. Woods was shot an undisclosed number of times, and police are still investigating which officers shot him.
Michael Allen, Wood’s half brother, said Wood has one grown daughter and has been traveling in the Southwest since his grandmother died in the early 1990s, a death Wood took very hard, Allen said.
That death, coupled with the PTSD Wood suffered after serving as an infantryman in Vietnam in the mid-1960s, left Wood drifting, Allen said. Wood had been living in Albuquerque for 10 to 15 years, he said.
“I just want people to remember that he did serve his country,” Allen said in a phone interview from his home in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday. “I don’t know what’s going on here.”
Officers responded to a shopping center in the 4600 block of San Mateo NE, north of Montgomery, just before 7:40 p.m. when a security guard there called to report that a man, identified by police Saturday as Wood, was threatening two kids with the knives. Schultz described Wood as 6-feet, 2-inches tall, but Allen said his half brother stood no taller than 5-feet, 7-inches.
Two officers responded quickly to the scene, in addition to an officer who is part of the APD Crisis Intervention Team.
Officers found Wood, armed with the knives, in a nearby Circle K gas station parking lot. Wood approached an officer, Schultz said, and continued trying to stab him until a female police officer – and possibly a second officer – shot and killed Wood.
According to online court records, Wood has faced domestic violence, disorderly conduct, battery on a health-care worker and robbery charges in Albuquerque since 2006. However, charges were dismissed in all but the disorderly conduct and domestic violence charges, from 2007 and 2006, respectively.
‘Waving his arms’
Leslie Miller was getting off work and heading south on San Mateo when she stopped at a red light across from the Circle K. She said she saw a man holding two knives pointed away from the officer and that he was “stomping and waving his arms” while moving closer to the officer.
She saw one officer arrive just as the shooting occurred, likely the crisis-intervention officer, who Schultz said arrived around that time.
She said Wood was wearing a leather vest without patches, wristbands, blue jeans and biker boots.
“He was stomping and enraged, lumbering towards (the officer),” Miller said. “The way he was holding the knives, I’ve seen martial arts people hold knives like that.”
When the light turned green, Miller said she slowly drove forward, then turned around to see Wood’s body jerk as he was struck. She said she heard four distinct gunshots and estimated that Wood had moved from around 15 feet to within 6 feet of the officer when he was shot.
Miller said she saw that officers were shouting at Wood, but she couldn’t hear what they were saying.
Allen said Wood was staying at an Albuquerque hotel and he last spoke with Wood three or four months ago when Wood was getting medical care at a Veteran’s Affairs hospital. Allen didn’t know why Wood was in the hospital.
Allen said Wood was diagnosed with PTSD and possibly other mental conditions.
Chief Schultz said Friday that the crisis-intervention officer, who is trained in de-escalating and dealing with the mentally ill, decided to respond to the scene after hearing over the scanner that Wood, who had not yet been identified before the shooting, possibly had mental problems.
When contacted by police, Allen said detectives sounded confident that they had no choice but to shoot his half brother.
“He was speaking quite confident that it was something that they had to do, though I’m not quite sure about that because they knew he had mental issues,” Allen said.
Officers got the call about Wood allegedly threatening the pair of kids with knives at 7:39 p.m. Shots were fired at 7:43 p.m., Schultz said.
APD officers have shot at 29 men since 2010, striking 26 and killing 19. The department is also in the midst of a federal Department of Justice investigation into whether APD has a “pattern or practice” of violating Albuquerque residents’ civil rights.
Police are expected to release more information about the shooting on Monday. Investigators are also asking that witnesses come forward to provide more information.