ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It was a priority one call.
A confrontation at the Albertsons near Candelaria and Eubank turned violent Monday when a store security guard asked a teenager, who was in the liquor section, for identification.
The teen pulled out a machete. Then he punched an Albertsons employee in the face, knocking his teeth loose, before fleeing.
That’s the call that officials say Albuquerque police officer Johnathan McDonnell was rushing to when he slammed into a car carrying 6-year-old Joel, 9-year-old Ariana and their mother Antoinette.
Felicia Romero, a spokeswoman for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, which is the agency investigating the crash, confirmed Friday evening that Joel died after his family made the decision Thursday night to pull him off life support. She didn’t release the names of those injured in the crash, but court records identify the boy as Joel Suina and his mother as Antoinette Suina.
Joel’s mother had been driving him and his sister to buy Legos and other toys with the kids’ Easter money when they were struck by McDonnell’s cruiser at Eubank and Indian School.
Antoinette appeared to have a green light and was turning left when McDonnell – who also appeared to have a green light and had his emergency lights on – hit her.
Police have said McDonnell was rushing to the call at the Albertsons, and on Friday they released more details of what happened at the grocery chain’s store.
An Albertsons employee called police and said a teenager had walked into the liquor section and then started swearing at a security guard who asked the teen for identification.
Surveillance footage shows the teen waving his arms around as another Albertsons employee goes to help the security officer.
The teen then pulls what appears to be a machete out of his backpack.
“Looks like he has a tennis racket, he’s ready to punch me in the face,” the Albertsons employee tells a 911 dispatcher. “Clearly underage. Oh no, he has a machete. He has a machete in his backpack.”
The employees followed the teen outside. He left but then came running back and punched the employee in the face, knocking his teeth loose, according to video released by APD.
He ran away and officers had not yet found him Friday evening. They’re looking for tips about who he is, and asked anyone with information to call 843-STOP.
Celina Espinoza, a spokeswoman for APD, said McDonnell remained sedated in the hospital with a broken femur Friday.