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On Tuesday night a manager at a Target store in Northeast Albuquerque called 242-COPS to remove a person camped out in the parking lot. The call was downgraded to a lower priority and a sergeant arrived 45 minutes later.
Police said the man – whose name has not been released – ended up shooting himself inside his van after pulling a gun on the officer who tried to arrest him on warrants, according to police. Afterward, the officer – believing the man was shooting at police – fired back.
Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina said in an early morning briefing that the SWAT team responded soon after and discovered the man with “a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” He said a firearm was found at the scene.
APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said one officer fired during the incident.
He said it is unclear if the man, who is believed to have been in his 30s, was struck by the officer’s gunfire but police believe the man killed himself.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave as the shooting is investigated.
Target’s corporate office did not immediately respond to a message for comment.
The incident marked the ninth shooting involving Albuquerque police this year and the sixth that proved fatal. There were 10 police shootings in the city last year.
On Tuesday, officers responded around 9:30 p.m. to the Target on Lomas NE near Eubank for reports of a person camped in a white van in the parking lot. Medina said a sergeant took the call and made contact with the man, discovering he had felony warrants that were DWI-related.
Medina said another officer responded to take the man into custody on the warrants when he brandished a gun and the officer and sergeant retreated.
“The subject reentered their vehicle and a single gunshot was heard from within the vehicle,” he said. “Officers perceived the gunshot was fired and returned fire.”
Medina said the situation then became a standoff before police found the man in the vehicle with what “they believe (is) a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”