Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
On a Sunday night last month, 21-year-old Melina Jones had gone out with her girlfriend and some other friends in Downtown Albuquerque.
What started out like any other night ended when Jones confronted a man who was bothering some other girls, her friends and family say. Cellphone video taken from some distance away shows the two arguing in the parking lot on Central and Second as several others mill around and try to get between them.
Cynthia Jaramillo, who was close to Jones through her two sons, said she had heard that Jones told the man that if he was going to beat up a woman he would have to fight her. He responded that he had a gun.
“I guess some friends of his told him she’s a female, put your gun away, if you want to act like that why don’t you just fight her,” Jaramillo said, adding that Jones was always sticking up for other people. “So he put his gun down and he fought and after the fight he went and he grabbed the gun and just shot her six or seven times.”
That’s when Sgt. Harold Sennett of the Albuquerque Police Department pulled up in his cruiser with his lights flashing, said Deputy Cmdr. Kyle Hartsock with APD’s Criminal Investigations Division.
APD officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon releasing details and video of the Aug. 22 shooting and another involving an officer that occurred six days later.
“Sgt. Sennett who got there first observed a male with a gun shooting someone else – who was Melina,” he said. “Sgt. Sennett quickly got out of his marked patrol unit … and fired one round at the suspect to stop any other shooting. This appeared to work as the suspect – who we don’t believe was hit – quickly ran away and the violent incident stopped.”
Hartsock said Sennett has been with APD since June 2007 and has not been involved in any other shootings. All APD shootings are reviewed by a Multi-Agency Task Force, Internal Affairs Force Division and the Force Review Board, which is made up of city officials and command staff.
Hartsock could not provide any other details about the homicide investigation. Jones’ death has continued to reverberate among those who knew her.
Shawina Jones-Graham said her niece was raised by another aunt because her parents struggled with drug addiction.
“She had a hard time growing up without a mom and dad,” Jones-Graham said. “But she was an outstanding person – she was outgoing, she was hardworking, she was very funny, she was the most amazing person ever.”