Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
A man told police he used fentanyl and methamphetamine before allegedly throwing softball-sized rocks at an officer who then shot him in the shoulder early Wednesday morning in Northeast Albuquerque.
A criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court on Wednesday night detailed the shooting of 47-year-old Gabriel Garcia by Albuquerque Police Department Officer Quan La near Candelaria and Carlisle NE.
Garcia was treated for a gunshot wound and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on charges of aggravated assault against a peace officer, possession of burglary tools, criminal damage to property and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.
Police said the officer who fired – identified in the complaint as Officer La – briefly lost his lapel camera during the chase but put it back on before shooting Garcia.
The Multi-Agency Task Force is investigating the incident.
Prosecutors filed a motion to detain Garcia until trial, saying he has “an extensive criminal history” that includes sex offenses, drug possession, stolen vehicle and other charges.
Although police said the rocks were the size of a softball, prosecutors described them as “football sized” landscaping rocks.
“Officers had to use force to neutralize and take (Garcia) into custody,” according to the motion. Prosecutors pointed out that a judge had deemed Garcia “too dangerous to be released” pending trial in a recent aggravated battery case.
Court records show those charges were dismissed when a witness didn’t show up for a preliminary hearing and Garcia was released Aug. 29.
Around 2:40 a.m. Wednesday, a police sergeant responded to an alert from a gunshot detection device near Carlisle and Candelaria NE, according to the complaint. The sergeant saw Garcia using a screwdriver to remove parts of the window frame at the closed DK convenience store and gas station.
Police said Garcia started walking away and, when confronted, said he was “urinating.” Garcia ran away and the sergeant, La and another officer gave chase.
At one point Garcia stopped and threw two rocks “approximately the size of a softball” at La from 40 feet away, according to the complaint. La told police he was in fear of being hit in the head by the rocks and fired at Garcia.
Police said La’s lapel camera showed one rock hit the ground in front of him “almost striking him” and he shot Garcia “shortly thereafter.” Officers tagged the rocks into evidence and found Garcia a few blocks away with a gunshot wound to his shoulder.
Garcia told a detective he “could not remember any of the incident until an officer applied a tourniquet to his arm” and had used fentanyl and meth beforehand.