A woman was killed and two other people – a man and a woman – were injured in what police called an active shooter situation in a foothills area neighborhood Monday afternoon.
The incident sparked a massive law enforcement response and ended with two officers sustaining minor gunshot wounds and multiple officers fatally shooting the armed suspect.
At a news conference outside the perimeter Monday, Police Chief Harold Medina said the suspect died at the scene.
Around 2:17 p.m. officers were called to Montgomery east of Tramway NE, near a police substation, because a woman in a vehicle had been shot.
As officers were rendering aid to her they heard gunshots to the east and several officers “made their way up the street” to where they found a man had been shot in the leg. The man went to the hospital himself and is being treated. The woman was also taken to the hospital.
Then, Medina said, the officers searching the neighborhood found a woman dead inside a vehicle. Police believe all three people were shot by the same person.
Officers found a man they believed to be the suspect – he had entered a house and then come back out – and Medina said an altercation occurred that led to two officers getting superficial gunshot wounds. One was grazed above the eye and the other was struck with pellets below the vest.
“At this point in time, the altercation led to an officer-involved shooting,” Medina said. “We have one male subject who is currently deceased on scene.”
An APD spokesman later added that two handguns were found with the suspect.
Jakob Baca, who works at one of the shops in the strip mall, said he was coming to work when he ran right into the commotion.
“I saw a bunch of cop cars zooming past me and I’m pretty sure I saw a cop get shot because he fell to the ground,” Baca said. “I didn’t see the suspect specifically but I saw the cops shooting.”
Albuquerque Police Department officers and SWAT team units, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies and the New Mexico State Police flooded the area.
In the Smith’s parking lot on Montgomery and Tramway, neighbors began to gather outside the sprawling crime scene waiting to be allowed back into their homes. A silver SUV could be seen behind the crime scene tape but bystanders told a couple different versions of how it had been involved.
Medina said it is very early in the investigation and officers are still trying to piece together what happened, what sparked the shooting and whether the suspect knew the people who were shot.
“Some of it seems like it could be random…,” Medina said. “We’ll have to wait until investigators are able to piece together who the victims are and what relationship they may have to this offender.”
He said investigators are interviewing people and expect to be working through the night. He didn’t know if the suspect lived in the house that he was shot in front of.
“I think the important thing to remember is the subject is deceased, there is no further threat to the community,” Medina said. “Thankfully our officers are safe and at the hospital and there’s nothing life-threatening.”
Mayor Tim Keller said the shootings were “another example of a tragedy suffered from gun violence in our community.”
“I also want to mention that this is yet another example of what happens when there is a gun in the wrong hands, and it leads to violence,” Keller said. “This is yet another clarion call in our city. We have to have every level of government focused on reducing gun violence.”