Copyright © 2014 Albuquerque Journal
Albuquerque police officers fatally shot 33-year-old Jeremy Robertson – who police say was armed and wanted on felony warrants – after a foot chase near a busy intersection Tuesday afternoon, according to Deputy Chief William Roseman.
But it’s not the first time Robertson has been shot at by the Albuquerque Police Department.
In January, APD officer Russ Carter opened fire on Robertson, shooting out three of his tires while trying to serve a warrant as part of a Repeat Offender Project operation. Robertson was not struck in that incident and was arrested after a car chase. He was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
It’s the first time, at least in recent memory, that APD has shot at the same suspect in two different incidents.
Roseman said on Tuesday, Robertson presented a threat to officers, but didn’t say if he pointed his gun or fired at them.
APD and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents went to serve a warrant on Robertson on Tuesday morning but lost track of him, Roseman said. Robertson was wanted for parole violations stemming from 2013 stolen vehicle charges.
ATF agents found him again near Eubank and Central in the afternoon. APD was called to help, Roseman said, and officers in plainclothes approached him.
The suspect fled across Central, Roseman said, and pulled a handgun out of his waistband. He then ran north through the Valero gas station on the northwest corner of the intersection into an alley. Other APD officers heard what was happening on their radios and confronted the suspect just north of the gas station, Roseman said.
“The subject was still armed and posing an immediate threat to the officers,” Roseman said.
That’s when officers opened fire on Robertson, killing him. Roseman said he believed two shots were fired and two officers were involved.
Robertson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Roseman walked away after giving a brief statement at the scene, choosing not to answer reporters’ questions. He did not identify the officers who fired.
Robertson had a long criminal history. He has pleaded to or been found guilty of disorderly conduct, aggravated DWI, breaking and entering, shoplifting and receiving/transferring a stolen car.
Kaharie Reese, 18, was getting a sandwich at a Subway near Eubank and Central around 2:50 p.m. when he said he saw an estimated seven officers chasing a man through the restaurant’s parking lot. The man jumped over a fence and Reese lost sight of him. Reese said he then heard one gunshot.
Crime scene tape was wrapped around an overgrown vacant lot on the northwest corner of Eubank and Central and at the Giant gas station on the southeast corner of the intersection. It was also wrapped around the nearby Subway, and two blocks north of the scene were blocked off.
Deputy City Attorney Kathryn Levy and Police Chief Gorden Eden were at the scene but did not talk with reporters.
With the Tuesday shooting, Albuquerque police have shot and killed 27 people since the beginning of 2010. It is APD’s fourth officer-involved shooting since the Department of Justice issued a report this spring finding that APD has a pattern of excessive force.
On April 21, APD officer Jeremy Dear shot and killed 19-year-old Mary Hawkes near Zuni and Wyoming when police said she threatened Dear with a gun after fleeing from a stolen vehicle. Lapel camera video that might have captured the encounter was not retrievable, and the company that makes the cameras, Taser International Inc., later was unable to determine why.
On May 3, 50-year-old Armand Martin was shot and killed by APD SWAT team officer Daniel Hughes after police said he fired numerous shots into the neighborhood of his Ventana Ranch West home.
On May 22, officers Ryan Graves and Brian Fuchs shot and killed Ralph Chavez, who police said wielded a bloodied box cutter and approached officers, asking them to shoot him. Chavez encountered officers after cutting the throat of a man he argued with near Second Street and Interstate 40.
APD has made several changes in policy and procedure and has said more changes are in the pipeline, to comply with the DOJ recommendations, including a requirement that officers carry only department-issued weapons, implementing more rigorous reporting after less-lethal force is used, and changing its use-of-force policy to forbid officers from disabling vehicles by shooting at them.
The city and the DOJ are in the midst of negotiations to craft an agreement, which will eventually be enforced in federal court, to ensure that each of the reforms the DOJ identified as necessary are implemented. Those reforms include revamping APD’s training structure and internal accountability systems.
The shootings have prompted numerous protests by citizens groups this year. About 10 protesters showed up at Tuesday’s shooting scene, carrying signs and shouting, “Jail killer cops.”
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