State Police: Attempted ammo theft led to officer shooting - Albuquerque Journal

State Police: Attempted ammo theft led to officer shooting

Albuquerque Police Department officers at the scene following an off-duty State Police officer-involved shooting at Cabela’s. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico State Police says a young man’s plan to steal ammunition and resell it to fix his car went awry when an off-duty officer intervened and shot him during an exchange of gunfire Friday night outside the Cabela’s in Northeast Albuquerque.

Gabriel Velasquez, 18, is in critical condition at the University of New Mexico Hospital following the incident.

The officer – who police did not identify – was uninjured and placed on standard administrative leave.

On Saturday, police arrested Velasquez’s alleged getaway driver, Joseph Montoya, also 18, and charged him with conspiracy to commit armed robbery and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer. He has been booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Joseph Montoya (MDC)

State Police spokesman Mark Soriano on Saturday said the agency is continuing its investigation.

“The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau agents are working to independently determine the series of events leading to the shooting,” he said.

The incident marked the ninth time this year that authorities had shot, or shot at, someone in the Albuquerque area. Six of those incidents have been fatal.

Authorities said the off-duty officer was shopping at Cabela’s around 8:30 p.m. when Valesquez tried to take several boxes of 9mm ammunition from the sporting goods and outdoor store near Jefferson and Paseo del Norte, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.

Police said a manager escorted Velasquez out of the store when he pulled out a Glock pistol with an extended magazine and laser attachments, pointing it at several employees. The officer asked the manager if Velasquez had pointed the gun “at civilians” and the officer then followed him into the parking lot.

Witnesses told police the officer announced himself as such and told Velasquez not to reach for the gun and get on the ground, according to court records. Police said security video showed Velasquez shoot the gun before the officer fired back “at least one time to disable the threat.”

Court records state Velasquez was “walking briskly” toward a silver car when he was shot and the driver sped off afterward. Police traced the car to Montoya and met him at his girlfriend’s house in Los Lunas.

Montoya told police Velasquez asked him for a ride to Cabela’s and knew he was planning to steal ammo and later resell it to fix a vehicle he had totaled days earlier, according to police. Montoya said Velasquez told him he planned to shoot out the front window of Cabela’s “in case he got locked inside from security measures.”

“Montoya informed me he did not want his Infiniti to be struck by gunfire and that is the reason he left the scene … (he) told me he did not do anything wrong,” an officer wrote in the complaint.

Montoya told police he called his mother afterward and “told her there was an incident,” according to court records.

His mother declined to comment when reached Saturday afternoon.

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