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Four Hills man killed confronting car thieves

William McKinley, 55. (Courtesy Valerie McKinley)

William McKinley, 55. (Courtesy Valerie McKinley)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — William McKinley woke up to his dogs barking around 5 a.m. Saturday and went outside his Four Hills home to see what was going on.

He never made it back inside.

Police found the 55-year-old home remodeler stabbed multiple times in front of his driveway in the 1500 block of Soplo Road SE, his father-in-law sitting on his chest to try to slow the bleeding. Paramedics took McKinley to a hospital, where he died.

Albuquerque officer Simon Drobik said police think that McKinley confronted two thieves who had broken into his car, and that at least one of them stabbed him. No one had been arrested by Saturday night.

“A good man was viciously attacked by what I can only describe as a predator,” Drobik said.

McKinley spent much of his career working at Sandia National Laboratories and a few years ago started a home remodeling company called McJones Homes, his daughter Valerie McKinley said Saturday.

She said he was religious and ran a Bible study group out of his home. He was married, and had three grown children and two grandchildren.

McKinley graduated from Sandia High School and was well-known in the community – he couldn’t go to the grocery store without bumping into somebody he knew, his daughter said.

“He thought every day was worth celebrating,” she said. “Every day was a holiday, each day was something to give. He loved every part of his life. And he always knew if he died he would go to heaven.”

Before he died, McKinley told police two men had been trying to break into his truck and fled in a dark-colored Jeep.

The assailants were gone when police arrived and they haven’t been identified.

Albuquerque police investigate the scene of a fatal stabbing in Southeast Albuquerque Saturday morning. (Marla Brose/Journal)

Albuquerque police investigate the scene of a fatal stabbing in Southeast Albuquerque Saturday morning. (Marla Brose/Journal)

Drobik said investigators are working to find out who they are.

“Turn yourself in, or we are going to find you,” he said.

Officers who responded found that a window had been broken out of McKinley’s truck.

They also discovered that four other cars had been broken into in the Four Hills neighborhood overnight, including McKinley’s neighbor’s car, Drobik said.

He asked residents in the area to report any other recent auto burglaries.

“That might be the one piece of evidence we need to solve this case,” Drobik said.

Drobik said there is only one way to get in and out of the neighborhood, an upscale area in Southeast Albuquerque, and he asked residents with surveillance cameras to check their recordings taken between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. to see if it shows anything related to the crime.

“It appears that it was an auto burglary in progress that progressed from a property crime to a violent crime,” Drobik said.

He said police have been noticing a trend in crimes like this.

“These property crime offenders are now without hesitation turning into violent offenders,” Drobik said.

He said police ask victims to be “good witnesses” and get a license plate number instead of trying to stop a crime.

But he said people have the right to defend their property and understands why they do.

“It’s hard not to defend your property,” he said.

Valerie McKinley says her dad owned a gun and had a concealed carry permit but apparently didn’t have the gun with him when he went outside early Saturday.

“It doesn’t seem like he knew there was any danger,” she said. “I don’t get it. I know if he saw someone out there, he wouldn’t have come out unarmed.”

She said her father celebrated Christmas with his family on Friday and had gone to look at Christmas lights with a friend that night. They had planned to go to Costco on Saturday.

“Everyone was just in shock this morning,” she said. “I guess we’re just relying on the comfort that he knew he was going to be with Jesus in heaven.”