ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Andrew Romero told investigators he shot at Rio Rancho police officer Gregg Benner, but he wasn’t sure he hit him, according to court documents released Wednesday before the accused cop-killer’s first felony arraignment.
“Mr. Romero said as the officer walked up to the vehicle he was afraid,” investigators wrote in the criminal complaint. “Mr. Romero said he pulled out a gun and fired shots at the officer as he approached the vehicle. Mr. Romero said he was unsure if the round he fired struck the officer. Mr. Romero explained he notices the officer walked around.”
The document also details Romero’s girlfriends’ versions of events. Tabitha Littles, who had been dating Romero around a month, said Romero was a heroin user who was in a paranoid state when he demanded she drive him around Rio Rancho on Monday. She said Benner pulled the couple over after he found an issue with her vehicle’s registration, and, after that initial interaction, Romero pushed her from the driver’s side and shot her in the foot.
She said Benner ran up to check on her as Romero fled.
“Ms. Littles stated the next thing she heard were multiple gun shots,” the complaint reads. ” … When she looked up she saw Officer Benner walk towards her and ask ‘what was his name’ before he fell to the ground due to gunshot wounds. Ms. Littles stated Mr. Romero left in her vehicle to an unknown destination.”
Romero, 28, was later arrested in the early morning hours Tuesday in Albuquerque. He went before a magistrate court judge Wednesday morning.
Romero spent much of his first court appearance Wednesday morning with his eyes closed and hands folded as he was read his rights and watched his bail get set at $5 million, cash only.
Romero, 28, is accused of shooting and killing Rio Rancho police officer Gregg Benner on Monday night. His attorneys had no arguments about why his bond should be lowered or about his conditions of release, and prosecutor Barbara Romo listed Romero’s criminal history, flight risk and the nature of the alleged offense for reason behind the unusually high bail.
Romero wore a bright yellow “high risk” jumpsuit and spoke only once, saying he might need to go to Albuquerque for a court appearance while he was in jail in Sandoval County. The judge assured him the court would accommodate his schedule of various criminal hearings Romero has pending.
Romo also mentioned Romero’s “confession” as reason behind the bail. She was presumably referring to Romero’s admission in the court document that he fired his handgun at Benner.