ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A suspect’s alleged crime spree – including a shooting, two carjackings, a hit-and-run and a frantic car chase – ended Tuesday afternoon when officers and deputies shot and killed him near Constitution and San Mateo NE.
The man was shot at El Encanto and La Veta NE around 1:30 p.m. when two Bernalillo County deputies and an Albuquerque police officer caught up to him after he crashed a Jeep he had allegedly carjacked, said Sheriff Manny Gonzales in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
“The suspect was attempting a third carjacking when the shooting occurred,” Gonzales said.
The man was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where he died.
During the chase, officers could be heard on the radio calling in sightings of the suspect, with one dispatcher notifying officers that he had threatened to shoot police.
Gonzales said deputies heard it on the radio and jumped in to help.
He said the suspect was dangerous and officers had to stop him.
“He put the community at risk,” he said. “Obviously it ended in a situation that was tragic in terms of somebody getting shot, but at this point right now everyone is a little safer.”
Gonzales said neither the deputies nor the officer was injured in the shooting.
All three are on paid leave, as is standard in an officer-involved shooting, but Gonzales said he didn’t know which of them opened fire or struck the man.
He didn’t name them or the man who was shot.
The sheriff’s office will assist the multi-jurisdictional police shooting task force with the officer-involved shooting investigation, Gonzales said. APD will handle the rest of the investigation, which includes the carjackings and a shooting the man is suspected in.
The cross-town crime spree began when officers were called to a shooting at a home on the 200 block of Rhode Island NE around 11:30 a.m.
Albuquerque police spokesman Tanner Tixier said they found an injured man, who was rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital. He did not know what condition he was in Tuesday evening.
Ariana Deleon, 11, who lives with her mother on the same street, said she was awakened Tuesday morning by a man and a woman arguing. She saw a man with a gun chasing a woman down the street.
“I got up because I was scared, I didn’t know what was happening,” she said in an interview with the Journal. Her mother was also present, but didn’t see anything.
Ariana said her mother was sleeping. “I closed everything, I didn’t know what to do,” she said.
The man and woman eventually returned to a home next to where Ariana and her mom live.
Police arrived soon after with their guns drawn and surrounded the house. Ariana said she heard two more shots.
She said the man she saw with the gun then ran away from officers.
Roberta Dozal, who was at the scene Tuesday afternoon, said she knows the shooter and said he had warrants out for his arrest. She said he texted her daughter, whom he had dated, saying that he was going to shoot officers if they tried to arrest him. She called police to tell them that.
After fleeing from the scene of the shooting, the man carjacked a black Ford truck near Louisiana and Lomas NE shortly before noon, Tixier said. About 45 minutes later the man crashed the truck near Eubank and Central and carjacked a gray jeep, Tixier said. During the police chase, the man crashed into a bicyclist, who was not seriously injured.
Officers and deputies followed the suspect to Alvarado and El Encanto where he crashed the Jeep into a curb. He ran one block west before attempting a third carjacking.
“He abandoned the vehicle, I believe, and then there was an altercation at that intersection” before officers fired on the man, Gonzales said.
He didn’t know if the man had pointed a gun at officers or if a gun was found near him.
Justin Salazar lives one block south of where the shooting took place.
“There were sirens and a whole lot of vehicles moving, and then they came to a stop about a block away,” Salazar said of police. “Then there were gunshots immediately after they stopped.”
Salazar said he heard at least three gunshots.
Rescue workers could be seen giving the man CPR as he lay in the front yard of a house on El Encanto and La Veta. He was loaded into an ambulance a short time later.
Tuesday’s shooting is the second by APD, and the first by BCSO, in 2016. Police shot and injured an alleged bank robber on Jan. 11.