APD: Man shot by police was running with a gun - Albuquerque Journal

APD: Man shot by police was running with a gun

An Albuquerque Police Department officer shoots a Taser at Devin Morris as another tries to take him into custody. Morris, armed with a gun, fled from the officer and was fatally shot. (Courtesy APD)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Devin Morris (Source: APD)

The man who was fatally shot by two Albuquerque police officers earlier this month had unholstered a gun and was running toward the street and a bystander when he was struck in the back. And officials said the officers’ bullets came “very close” to hitting the bystander, who then ducked into a doorway.

Devin Morris, 31, died at the scene – the Court John Motel on Fourth NW north of Menaul.

Police were not able to find and interview the bystander.

In a news conference Thursday afternoon, the Albuquerque Police Department released lapel camera and helicopter videos of the Feb. 1 shooting. It was the first shooting by APD of the year.

Deputy Cmdr. Kyle Hartsock, with the Criminal Investigations Division, said the incident started on Carlisle NE, near Montgomery, when a man called 911 to say that he had spotted his neighbor’s stolen truck and there was a man inside passed out.

Officer Charles Miller (Source: APD)

Hartsock said officers began to gather in the area but then the truck drove off, so a helicopter followed it around Northeast Albuquerque instead.

Eventually, the driver drove the wrong way in traffic and turned on to a street next to the Court John Motel.

“A male exited the driver’s door and ran into the Court John Motel,” Hartsock said. “Uniformed and marked unit officers then drove into the parking lot as the male tried to get onto a motorcycle. A foot chase started and as the male was attempted to be physically controlled, he pulled a firearm out of his pocket and an officer involved shooting occurred.”

The officers who shot Morris were Ramiro Garza of the Valley Area Command and Charles Miller of the Traffic Unit. Both have been with APD since 2008 and neither has been involved in any other shootings. They have both returned to duty.

APD released lapel camera videos from the two officers and another who used a Taser but didn’t fire his gun. (The Journal is only posting the one taken from the officer who didn’t shoot his gun since it shows the clearest view of the incident.)

Hartsock said the origin of the gun is still under investigation. He said drugs – possibly fentanyl – were found on Morris as well.

As for the stolen truck, an APD spokesman said “there were a number of narcotics in the truck and when told about that, the owner doesn’t appear to want the truck back.”

The Journal could not reach Morris’ family.

A motel manager said Morris was not staying at the motel but had been keeping his motorcycle there.

Court records show he has a history of property crimes and misdemeanors.

Officer Ramiro Garza (Source: APD)

Almost exactly two years before the shooting, he had been charged with criminal trespass after a convenience store on East Central asked officers for assistance. According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, an officer found Morris with “several tourniquets and hypodermic needles” around him and he admitted he was addicted to heroin.

 

The officer asked if he wanted to participate in the LEAD program – an initiative that offers some low-level offenders drug addiction treatment instead of jail time. Morris told the officer he was interested in the program and was taken there but then failed to complete the intake, according to the complaint.

At the news conference, APD Chief Harold Medina referenced the fact that the shooting is the latest of several that involved a suspect in a stolen vehicle who armed himself.

“There are a lot of different ways that crime could be addressed,” Medina said. “But I go back to what I’ve always said: There has to be that line in the sand where an individual who chooses to arm themselves is choosing to arm themselves for a reason. And that reason could be deadly, whether it’s to an officer or a citizen.”

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