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An Albuquerque Police Department officer shot and critically injured a teenage boy who authorities say was fleeing an apartment carrying “multiple firearms” Thursday morning.
Jesus Lopez, 16, was hospitalized in critical but stable condition following surgery, according to an APD spokesman. The officer who shot him has not been publicly identified.
The incident began around 7:30 a.m. when officers received a ShotSpotter alert that notified them of gunshots in the area of the Villa Hermosa apartment complex at 2600 Americare NW, near Sequoia and Ladera.
Gilbert Gallegos, an APD spokesman, said the officers arrived shortly after the ShotSpotter activation and began working to determine where the shooting took place. They zeroed in on an apartment where they knew Lopez – wanted on a warrant out of Sandoval County – was staying.
“They had to determine where exactly shots were fired, look for evidence to confirm shots were fired, and investigate possible occupants of the apartment,” Gallegos said in an email. “Officers were in the process of investigating and confirming the warrant was still active for the individual in order to determine whether SWAT should be activated.”
During a media briefing at the scene, APD Police Chief Harold Medina said officers set up a perimeter and began giving commands for Lopez to exit. They were in the process of calling the SWAT team when Lopez opened the door and came out.
“The individual chose to open the door, exit the apartment complex, try to flee the apartment armed with multiple firearms,” Medina said. “At this point in time we know that one officer did discharge their firearm.”
The shooting occurred at 9:28 a.m.
The officers involved have not yet been interviewed by the Multi Agency Task Force made up of investigators from APD, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and the New Mexico State Police. So Medina said he does not yet know whether Lopez fired at officers or pointed a gun at officers. No officers were injured.
Lopez had an active bench warrant out of Sandoval County for failing to appear at a pretrial hearing on Nov. 22.
He is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon against a household member, a third degree felony.
On Aug. 30, Lopez “touched or applied force” to a household member “with a kitchen knife, a deadly weapon, and the defendant intended to injure her or another,” according to a petition filed in mid-October.
“Children’s probation services has completed a preliminary inquiry in this matter and the children’s court attorney, after consultation with probation services, has determined that the filing of a petition is in the best interest of the public and the child,” the petition states. “The child is not in custody.”
A 13th Judicial District Court clerk said she could not find any other cases involving Lopez.
The household member, a 36-year-old woman, declined to speak to the Journal about Lopez.
At 16, Lopez is the youngest person shot by police in recent history.
Medina said he did not know if the teenager lived at Villa Hermosa but he apparently had been staying there. He also did not know if other people were in the apartment at the time of the shooting.
“I do want the public to know that the individual involved is a juvenile,” he said. “It is important for us to keep in perspective that the individual did have a felony warrant for a violent crime, the individual was armed with multiple firearms and the individual is suspected of firing shots as early as today.”
Officers, investigators, APD’s command staff and civilian personnel could be seen gathering in the western side of the apartment complex.
A man who lived on an adjacent street told the Journal he had heard three gunshots earlier that morning and they sounded like they were all from the same gun.
A woman who worked nearby said she saw an ambulance leave with its lights on shortly after the shooting.
It was the ninth time APD officers shot someone this year; four shootings were fatal.