ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Albuquerque teenager was in critical but stable condition at a local hospital Tuesday and police say he will remain there for “an extended period of time” after he was shot in the head Monday night.
But police say Gabriel Gonzales, 16, is not a victim.
He was shot while trying with other teens to carjack a man and his girlfriend outside a northeast Albuquerque apartment complex Monday night, according to officers.
The man who shot him is not facing any charges because detectives believe the shooting was in self-defense.
APD spokesman officer Fred Duran said Gonzales was armed with some sort of weapon during the attempted carjacking, but he said he didn’t know what that weapon was. Once Gonzales is released from the hospital, Duran said he will face charges for the alleged attempted carjacking.
Officers were called to the shooting outside an apartment complex in the 3900 block of Montgomery NE, near Carlisle, around 6:30 p.m.
There, they learned that three young men, who may have been armed, tried to carjack the victims who were in a car in a parking lot.
“Apparently they were on a date, doing their nightly thing just like any other couple in Albuquerque would be doing, and then these guys attacked them,” Duran said.
The driver of the vehicle fired one shot at them, hitting Gonzales. The other two suspects fled on foot.
Duran said detectives believe those other two suspects are also teens and were trying to track them down Tuesday.
He didn’t have a description of them, but said detectives are looking for surveillance footage that may have captured images of them.
Duran did not identify the man who shot Gonzales.
Gonzales is friends with some teenagers who police highlighted in a news conference earlier this month for allegedly being involved in a string of crimes in the city, according to Duran. But he said detectives don’t know if he’s actually involved in the group. Regardless, he said the alleged carjacking is concerning.
“This is not something the typical 16-year-old should be doing or would be doing,” he said.
And he said the crime easily could have turned deadly.
“They go up and try to take a car with a weapon … and it turns into a violent crime,” Duran said. “Whether it’s the offender getting hurt or the victim getting hurt, it’s still somebody getting hurt. It’s still somebody in the hospital.”