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New Mexico State Police have identified the off-duty officer who shot a young man accused of trying to steal ammo from Cabela’s before firing at the officer and others outside the Northeast Albuquerque store last month.
State Police spokesman Ray Wilson said officer Robert Archuleta wounded Gabriel Velasquez after the 18-year-old fired a gun at Archuleta.
Archuleta, who is on the State Police tactical team, has been with the agency for nine years. He was placed on standard administrative leave following the shooting.
Velasquez was released from the hospital May 9 and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault.
In a jailhouse mugshot, Velasquez can be seen with bandages on both sides of his face and an apparent injury to his right eye.
Prosecutors have filed a motion to detain Velasquez until trial.
“(Velasquez) put the lives of everyone in the store in extreme danger when he opened fire – he has no regard for the lives around him,” prosecutors wrote in a motion.
In response, Velasquez’s attorney Jedidiah Glazener pointed out that the teen has no criminal history and argued it was “highly unlikely” Velasquez would commit new crimes as he continues to recover from gunfire that fractured his skull.
Glazener said Velasquez is in 11th grade at Mission Achievement and Success Charter School with a 2.8 grade point average. The school’s founder apparently told the attorney the teen is “a good student and very bright.”
The April 29 shooting began with an alleged shoplifting attempt.
Wilson, the State Police spokesman, said Velasquez tried to steal several boxes of 9mm ammunition when he was stopped by staff of the sporting goods and outdoor store near Paseo del Norte and Jefferson NE. He said they escorted him out when he pulled a gun from his waist and pointed it at employees.
Wilson said an employee told Archuleta what happened and the off-duty officer followed Velasquez into the parking lot. He said Archuleta identified himself as State Police and told the teen to drop the gun and get on the ground.
Wilson said Velasquez pointed a gun with a blue laser toward Archuleta and others and fired it before the officer fired back with his duty weapon. Velasquez’s alleged getaway driver, Joseph Montoya, fled the scene and was arrested in Los Lunas.
Velasquez told police he made a plan with Montoya to steal ammo from the store after the pair left school, according to court records. The teen said he had stolen ammo from the store before and, this time around, planned to resell the ammo to fix a car he recently totaled.
Police said Velasquez told them he could not remember if he shot or hurt someone and asked who had shot him. He said he kept the gun, a Glock with an extended magazine, in his waistband for protection “in case someone pulled a gun on him.”
Court records state Velasquez told police he bought the gun a few days earlier from a stranger through a phone app and asked if there “was a body” on it. The teen said he had a previous gun that he accidentally shot himself with before his mother took it away.