Truck wash employee charged in fatal shooting - Albuquerque Journal

Truck wash employee charged in fatal shooting

Police investigate after a homeless man was shot and killed Thursday afternoon in Northwest Albuquerque. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Nicholas Dee (MDC)

An employee at a West Side truck wash is accused of fatally shooting a fleeing homeless man who had punched him moments earlier on Thursday.

Nicholas Dee, 39, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting, according to court documents, and has been booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center.

It is unclear if he has an attorney.

Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman, said the man who was killed has not yet been identified.

Carolina, an employee at Coss Truck Wash, told the Journal that Dee was a model employee who worked there for nearly two decades.

She said it was common for Dee and other employees to ask homeless people to leave the area because they drink and do drugs on the property.

Carolina said Dee was clocked out when he approached the group on Thursday.

“He would always try to kick them out,” Carolina said, adding that it had never before turned violent.

Gallegos said surveillance video showed Dee “chasing the victim and continuing to shoot.” He said the man who was shot was not armed.

He was the third homeless man killed in Albuquerque in as many weeks and at least the fifth slain this year.

APD Chief Harold Medina said police stepped up enforcement this year – such as citing people for trespassing – to keep business owners from getting frustrated and making “poor decisions.”

He said Thursday’s shooting went “way beyond self-defense” and into vigilantism. Medina said when faced with these types of situations the public should “take a step back and disengage.”

“We have to do something, these simple altercations can’t keep resulting in homicides,” he said. “It’s just, it’s insane.”

The Taurus revolver used to kill the man, according to court records, appears to have been returned to Dee by APD in 2019 after prosecutors dismissed a separate shooting case against him.

Thursday’s incident unfolded around 1:15 p.m.

Police responded to 9911 Avalon NW, near the truck wash, for reports of a man being shot by an employee, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court. A security guard took a revolver from Dee and the man was pronounced dead at the scene with a gunshot wound to his neck.

Police said a man told them he was getting his semitruck washed when he saw Dee approach a group of homeless people across the street. He said a man in the group punched Dee, who “got really mad” and pulled a gun from a hip holster.

The man told police Dee chased the man and shot him as he ran away, according to the complaint. Dee told police he had asked the group to leave the property when one man “became belligerent.”

Police said Dee told them he didn’t expect to get punched and he shot the man to stop him from “pulling something else out.” Dee acknowledged he didn’t see any weapons on the man.

“(Dee) told me he felt bad and did not think he would end up shooting and killing someone today,” according to the complaint.

Dee eventually stopped answering questions.

It was not the first time Dee shot at someone.

In May 2018, Dee was arrested after firing a gun at several people when a woman broke his window, according to court documents. Dee was shot in the hand by a neighbor who returned fire and police seized a revolver and handgun from Dee.

Court records show prosecutors dropped the felony charges months later because “additional investigation is required.”

Dee’s attorney petitioned to have the guns returned and the court agreed, ordering APD to return his Taurus revolver and a Springfield .45 caliber pistol.

Carolina, the truck wash employee, said the business owners didn’t allow Dee to carry a gun during work.

She said they didn’t know Dee had one in a hip holster on Thursday and she never saw him act violent. Carolina described him as “a sweet man.”

“We have known him for a long time and he’s never been the type of person to do that,” she said.

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