ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A suspect in a domestic violence incident was shot multiple times on Sunday by an Albuquerque police officer, after officers attempted to subdue him twice with a Taser.
Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz, who gave a report on the incident at the scene Sunday night, said the man was taken to University of New Mexico Hospital where he was in critical condition.
According to the police chief’s account:
The officers responded to a domestic violence call about 6 p.m. at 419 Dallas SE. One officer was interviewing the injured female victim, who had apparently been pushed and hit her head on the floor, in her apartment when the suspect emerged from another nearby apartment wielding a 15-inch bayonet.
The second officer, who was outside the victim’s apartment, commanded the man, who Schultz said was a 34- or 35-year-old Native American, to stop.
The man kept coming, so the officer Tasered him, but the electric shock didn’t stop him.
At that time, both officers were outside the apartment and told the suspect about 12 times to drop his weapon and stop approaching, Schultz said, but the man kept coming and raised his arm in what looked like a threat to throw the bayonet at the officers.
The officers took cover behind a tree. The man kept coming, Schultz said, and he was Tasered again, but he still kept coming.
One of the officers then shot the suspect several times. Schultz said he didn’t know where the man was hit.
“The officers did use good tactics, and they used good protocol. There was a less-lethal tool option there that was utilized, but we have to remind people that the less-lethal tool will not always work the way we would like to have it work,” Schultz said. It was the fifth officer-involved shooting this year. Four were fatal. There have been 19 officer-involved shootings since January 2010, 13 of them fatal.
A recent 90-page study by Police Executive Research Forum, a national organization of police executives, offered APD 40 recommendations about the use of force. It was ordered by Mayor Richard Berry last summer after an increase in officer-involved shootings.
One of its recommendations, which Schultz has said APD will follow, is less use of the “reactive control model,” in which, for example, a deadly weapon is used against a suspect with a deadly weapon.
Schultz said he did not know why the two attempts to Taser the suspect were unsuccessful, but that it would be studied in the investigation of the shooting.
He said the officers had video recorders that were turned on during the altercation.
An independent review officer was called to the scene of the shooting in accordance with the new procedures APD is using as a response to the number of officer-involved shootings.
Schultz said the suspect, who was not being named until his family is notified, had active warrants out for his arrest on charges including domestic violence and probation violations. He said alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the incident.
Both officers at the scene have been with the department for about a year and a half, Schultz said.
The officer who fired his gun will be placed on administrative assignment, Schultz said. The officers will be identified later, he said.
He said the incident took place in the courtyard of the apartment building where children were present.
The investigation of the shooting will include personnel from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the State Police and the District Attorney’s Office, he said.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal