Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal
Albuquerque police reports from the fatal shooting of Mary Hawkes by now-fired Albuquerque police officer Jeremy Dear confirm there were no fingerprints found on the gun that police said Hawkes pointed at Dear, and that DNA tests on the weapon were inconclusive.
But the reports state that police believed there was sufficient evidence to link the gun to Hawkes, 19, through a series of her Facebook messages and friends. Police considered the case “exceptionally cleared” and sent the case to the District Attorney’s Office for review without recommending any charges be filed against Dear. The DA’s Office is still reviewing the case.
The Albuquerque Police Department on Wednesday released hundreds of pages of police reports and summaries of the reports in response to a request by the Journal under the Inspection of Public Records Act. The documents reveal new aspects of the police investigation, which included a lengthy review into the .32 caliber pistol police said was recovered feet away from Hawkes’ body.
Dear said he shot Hawkes when she pointed the weapon at him.
A lawsuit brought by Hawkes’ family over the shooting had said there was no DNA or fingerprint evidence linking the gun to Hawkes. The police reports released Wednesday show that police were aware there were no fingerprints on the gun days after the shooting.
Dear shot Hawkes, a suspected car thief, in April 2014 during a foot chase. Earlier in the night, officer Sonny Molina spotted Hawkes driving a truck belonging to a man who police ultimately learned Hawkes had stayed with for several weeks.
Around 5 a.m., police had Hawkes cornered in a trailer park near Wyoming and Zuni. As police gave commands for her to surrender, Hawkes jumped a wall and ran east across Zuni. Dear gave chase.
Police said that Hawkes stopped, turned and pointed a gun at Dear. He then shot her several times. But Shannon Kennedy, an attorney for the Hawkes family, has said an expert hired by the plaintiffs has concluded that Hawkes must have been running east and falling toward the ground when she was shot at a downward angle through the left ear, arm and back.
Questions have swirled around the police account of the shooting for the past two years. Dear has said his camera came unplugged as he chased and shot Hawkes.
Dear invoked his Fifth Amendment right more than 100 times when he was deposed as part of the civil case filed by the Hawkes family. He said that, on the advice of attorneys, he refused to answer questions.
According to the newly released reports, APD brass told the department’s internal affairs bureau about a week after the shooting to investigate the gun found next to Hawkes. That investigation was going on at the same time APD homicide detectives were conducting the investigation that prosecutors would use to determine whether Dear would face criminal charges.
A sergeant in the internal affairs bureau found the gun had originally been purchased by an Albuquerque man in 1998. That man later sold the gun and lost the receipt.
The police reports state that the serial number from the gun had been run through a national criminal information database as part of a separate investigation by APD’s Crimes Against Children Unit. That search traced the gun back to a Michael Gaddy of Albuquerque.
Gaddy was Facebook friends with Hawkes and had asked her to come to his house a week before Hawkes was shot.
Hawkes also had messages on her Facebook account from Erik Hawke, who accused Hawkes of stealing a “piece” from his friend.
“Due to the fact that both Erik Hawke and Michael Gaddy are Facebook ‘friends’ with Mary Hawkes, it would appear there is evidence to suffice the origin of the .32 caliber firearm in Mary Hawkes’ possession on the evening,” APD Detective Matt Caplan wrote in a police report that has been submitted to the District Attorney’s Office.
Dear was fired from APD in December 2014, but not in connection with the Hawkes shooting.
Police said that an internal affairs investigation was launched into Dear’s overall lapel camera use. That investigation found that Dear made a recording on only about half the calls he was on. Police Chief Gorden Eden said that he considered Dear insubordinate because he had been ordered to record each and every call with citizens.
Dear disputed that he had been given such an order. He appealed his termination to the city’s personnel board, which sided with Dear and gave the officer his job back.
The city has appealed the board’s decision to state District Court, where the case is pending.