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APD identifies officers involved in last week’s fatal shooting

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque Police Department identified two Valley field patrol officers as those who shot a man suspected of stabbing another man in the neck with a box cutter Thursday night.

Ryan Graves and Brian Fuchs were the two officers, and both have been with the force for about 4½ years, according to the department.

The suspect – tentatively identified by APD as Ralph Chavez – was fighting with his girlfriend near Second Street and Interstate 40 when another man intervened and was allegedly stabbed by Chavez, according to APD. The victim ran to a nearby liquor store for help, and Chavez died after police fired near a Family Dollar store, according to APD. The stabbing victim is in stable condition and recovering, according to APD spokeswoman Tasia Martinez.

Police received multiple calls about the fight around 9:30 p.m. and then about the stabbing soon after, they said.

Police have not said how many shots were fired, and have not released any video of the incident. During a news conference handled by Deputy Chief William Roseman last week, an audio recording of the confrontation was released. Chavez can be heard telling police to shoot him, and officers tell him to drop his knife, but it’s still unclear what exactly prompted police fire. Roseman said Chavez was moving toward the officers, who were backing away. Roseman said video was available, but police were still “analyzing” it.

Homeless acquaintances of Chavez said he was possibly dealing with alcohol and medical issues.

Neither officer has been involved in a shooting before, according to Martinez. They are on administrative leave, she said.

The fatal confrontation was the department’s fifth in just over two months, and the 26th fatal shooting since 2010. The Department of Justice recently said the department uses force unconstitutionally, and the city is negotiating with the federal department to craft a court-enforceable agreement for reforms.

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