ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Albuquerque police officer who shot a mentally ill man last year has been cleared by the city’s independent investigator.
Officer Leah Kelly, a former bike patrol officer who now works on the Crisis Intervention Team, was exonerated of any wrongdoing in the Sept. 14, 2010, shooting of Chandler Todd Barr. Barr, who was 19 years old at the time, survived the shooting.
The Police Oversight Commission, a panel of citizens that reviews complaints against police, unanimously accepted the findings of Independent Review Officer William Deaton on Thursday.
Kelly shot Barr in Downtown Albuquerque shortly after starting her bike patrol beat.
It was the city’s 11th officer-involved shooting that year. Police have shot 20 people since January 2010, sparking public outcry and a possible investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Barr’s shooting last year began after he tried buying a ticket back home to Oklahoma but became agitated when the ticket agent told him there was an additional charge. He left the station but returned a short time later holding a knife and with his wrists bleeding, police said. Police said Barr had been treated for mental health issues at University of New Mexico Hospital.
Kelly and another officer confronted Barr at Second and Central, ordering him to drop his knife, police said. Barr refused.
Kelly shot Barr twice in the upper chest. He was released from University of New Mexico Hospital about a month later and was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a police officer in October 2010. He posted bond two months later, online court records show.
According to court records, the case against him is ongoing, and a motion to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial has been filed.
Barr has since relocated to Oklahoma, according to his Facebook page.