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Carjacking suspect shot and killed by Albuquerque police

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police shot and killed a man Tuesday morning near East Central after police said he attempted to carjack a vehicle.

APD Police Chief Gorden Eden, left, talks with other officials at the scene of an officer-involved shooting at Utah and Chico NE Tuesday morning. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

APD Police Chief Gorden Eden, left, talks with other officials at the scene of an officer-involved shooting at Utah and Chico NE Tuesday morning. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Around 9:30 a.m., a caller reported an attempted armed carjacking in the 300 block of Pennsylvania NE, according to Celina Espinoza, a spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Police Department.

The assailant was unable to take the car from the driver and took off running east. “Dispatchers then sent out a description of the possible suspect,” Espinoza said. “We located him not far from the scene.”

Officers confronted the man near Central and Utah, and fired at him, Espinoza said. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

She said investigators found a gun within 5 feet of the man’s body. She did not know whether the suspect fired at police before he was shot.

A00_jd_23dec_Police-Shooting_Utah-at-CentralA male and a female officer were placed on standard administrative leave after the shooting, Espinoza said. She did not provide their names but said they have both been with the department since 2001. Neither officer was injured.

The suspect had not been identified Tuesday evening, Espinoza said, and the Office of the Medical Investigator will use his fingerprints or dental records to determine who he is.

Espinoza said a multijurisdictional team is investigating the shooting.

David Olivas, an employee at a business at Central and Utah, said that shortly after 9:30 a.m. he heard several shots.

“I went outside to see what was going on and saw the cops standing over a guy,” Olivas said.

Olivas said the man was lying in a parking lot in front of a nearby business.

“He was skinny, bald, with red shorts and a gray sweater,” Olivas said. “When I got out there, it looked like he was breathing heavily.”

Angela Sanchez said she was sitting in her living room with her boyfriend around the corner from where the shooting took place. She said she heard one shot and then six more in quick succession.

She said additional officers arrived minutes later.

APD officers investigate the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting at Utah and Chico NE Tuesday morning. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

APD officers investigate the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting at Utah and Chico NE Tuesday morning. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

“They started taping it up right away,” she said. “Then an ambulance left without its lights on.”

Utah was closed between Chico and Central while police investigated. Officers had also taped off a courtyard on Tennessee north of Chico. An officer at the scene said investigators believe the suspect fled through the area and may have left behind evidence.

“If we had information that that’s the path the suspect might have taken we would have retraced those steps to collect any evidence that might be there,” Espinoza said.

This is the third man officers have fatally shot this year. In January, officers shot and killed John Edward Okeefe near San Mateo and Constitution, and in July officers shot and killed Rafael Molina near Garfield and Edith. Officers have opened fire nine times this year.

APD is undergoing a court-ordered reform process after an investigation by the United States Department of Justice found that the department was violating citizens’ civil rights through excessive use of force, including police shootings.

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