They had called 911 before to calm down their son. This time he had a knife and officers killed him. - Albuquerque Journal

They had called 911 before to calm down their son. This time he had a knife and officers killed him.

Law enforcement agencies investigate after Albuquerque Police Department officers shot and killed a Blaine Denetdele following a fight with his parents the day after Thanksgiving. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Blaine Denetdele had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome – a form of autism spectrum disorder – attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression and his parents say in the past when he fought with them they would call 911, the officers would arrive, and he would quickly calm down.

So that’s what they did on Nov. 25 – the day after Thanksgiving.

Except this time the call ended with Albuquerque Police Department officers shooting and killing Denetdele after they say he came out of the house armed with knives.

Blaine Denetdele, 30 (Courtesy of Mavis Denetdele-Perry)

The 30-year-old died in the yard of the family’s Southwest Albuquerque home, not far from where his stepfather was standing.

“I didn’t expect them to come with their weapons drawn and ready to judge him right then and there,” said Joseph Perry, Denetdele’s stepfather.

In response to questions about the couple’s account and requests for reports regarding earlier interactions, Gilbert Gallegos, an APD spokesman, said it’s important to give the detectives time to investigate the facts and to not jump to conclusions.

“We will be transparent and provide preliminary details in the coming weeks, like we do with every critical incident,” he wrote in an email.

APD typically releases lapel camera video a couple weeks after a shooting.

The shooting was the 18th by Albuquerque police this year, a marked increase over previous years. Ten people have been killed, three injured and in the remaining five cases officers missed. In one of the cases where officers missed the man had killed himself.

Parents sought help

Mavis Denetdele-Perry said her son had begun feeling “really down” because they hadn’t had family come visit for the holiday and he had recently had a falling out with a close friend. She and her husband tried to get him to call a mental health hotline or speak with a doctor but instead he went out and began drinking – something they didn’t want him doing.

“Then when he came back he was already upset and angry and it didn’t help that we went back over the rules,” Denetdele-Perry said. “Then he just kind of got really upset and started yelling and so my husband called the police.”

Around 3:20 p.m. Perry called 911 for help calming Denetdele down. Denetdele-Perry said she ended up on the phone with a dispatcher who told her to lock herself in a room separate from her son and “do not acknowledge him, do not look at him, ignore him.”

“Normally I can go and talk to him,” Denetdele-Perry said. “If he gets upset and I’m somewhere out and about he’ll call and I can talk to him and bring him back down and get him to calm down. But my mistake that day was totally locking him out – when that happened I think he just really snapped.”

She said he started threatening Perry and started breaking things and then the officers arrived at their house on the 2200 block of Odessa, near Gibson and Messina SW.

Perry told the officers his stepson was sitting on the couch and they should go talk to him, like he said they had in the past.

Instead the officers told Perry to come outside.

“He must have come out of the house about that time,” Perry said, referring to Denetdele. “By the time I reached the back of the vehicle I heard them say ‘put the knife down.’ That’s all they said and then they shot him with a rubber bullet to sort of de-escalate the situation or something and then they asked him again to put the knife down. And right after they said that they shot three times.”

Perry said he couldn’t see what Denetdele was doing when he was shot, but he thinks he was less than 15 feet from the officer. He said the knife Denetdele was carrying was a medium-sized kitchen knife.

In a briefing at the scene, Police Chief Harold Medina said Denetdele was carrying “at least two knives” and “some kind of altercation occurred” before the officers were able to de-escalate.

‘Autistic side’

Denetdele was born in Tuba City, Arizona, and he and his family moved to Albuquerque in 1999.

He was Denetdele-Perry’s youngest child and he loved his older siblings and their children – often jumping into the action with his nephew or sitting on the floor to play with his nieces.

“Blaine would share the most interesting thoughts on random things opening the door to wonderful conversations,” his brother and sister said in a eulogy. “Weird facts that left us exploring the how’s and why’s. At a young age, Blaine would take apart clocks, radios, small appliances, just to see how things worked. That was the autistic side of Blaine.”

Denetdele also loved to cook, his mother said, and the three of them had a quiet Thanksgiving together. He helped her make an apple pie.

“He was in a really good mood in the morning after that – Friday morning,” Denetdele-Perry said. “He came downstairs, kind of rubbing his hands together saying ‘oh, we’re going to have turkey for breakfast and lunch and dinner.’ He had the breakfast and never made it through lunch.”

Police Chief Harold Medina speaks to the media after officers shot and killed a Blaine Denetdele following a fight with his parents in Southwest Albuquerque. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

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