ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One of the officers who shot during a fatal confrontation with a man in the Sandia foothills Sunday was hired by the Albuquerque Police Department soon after he had been fired from the New Mexico State Police for his involvement in alleged double-dipping.
The department on Wednesday identified Keith Sandy – now a detective with APD’s Repeat Offender Project that is tasked with hunting down the city’s career criminals – as one of the men involved in Sunday night’s shooting. The department also said officer Dominique Perez shot during the incident, and both officers are on paid leave, which is standard after an officer-involved shooting.
Chief Gorden Eden said less-than-lethal force was used before a shot was fired at the man who was illegally camping in the foothills. Eden said the man was armed with knives during the hourslong confrontation, and witnesses said they heard multiple shots, not one. The man died Monday morning at the University of New Mexico Hospital, but the department has refused to say if he died from a gunshot wound or even if he was struck by a bullet.
Officer Sandy was fired from State Police in 2007 after accusations surfaced that he was getting paid by a private contractor – Wackenhut Services Inc. – for teaching classes while State Police was paying him to take classes, according to Journal archives.
He never faced criminal charges in those allegations because District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said it appeared his supervisors may have been complicit in the process, according to Journal archives.
He was hired by APD two months later and rose to the rank of detective. In 2011 he was involved in the arrest of District Judge Albert S. “Pat” Murdoch of Albuquerque, who was charged with rape and intimidating a witness. The district attorney in Santa Fe announced last week she wouldn’t press charges in that case.
Sandy was also involved in a January attempt to arrest a suspect on a felony warrant in Rio Rancho that ended with an APD officer shooting at the tires of the suspect, who was arrested.
According to police reports, Sandy rammed his unmarked police vehicle into the suspect’s car after the suspect backed into a Rio Rancho Police Department vehicle in a Walgreens parking lot. Sandy then chased him down Southern Boulevard and rammed his car again, spinning it into a bystander’s car before the suspect fled and was caught by another detective. Detective Russell Carter shot at the suspect’s tires during that incident, according to reports.
Perez was hired by the department in July 2006, and there are no Journal stories about him.
Police have still not said what specific action the man took that prompted police to use lethal force in Sunday’s incident. The department has scheduled a news conference for Friday.
The U.S. Department of Justice is conducting a comprehensive investigation into whether APD has a “pattern or practice” of violating citizens’ Constitutional rights, specifically through the use of force.
That investigation has been underway since November 2012.