|Story updated (Tuesday, July 27, 2010, 9:19 a.m.)|
Breaking: APD Fatally Shoots Man in SE ABQ
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
APD Shootings Escalate; Eight So Far This Year
By Rozanna M. Martinez
Journal Staff Writer
Six months into the year, and the number of police officer-involved shootings in Albuquerque has already surpassed last year's total of seven.
Tuesday's early morning fatal shooting of Julian Calbert, 42, at the Flying J truck stop near 98th Street and Interstate 40, brings the number this year to eight. Two of those shootings occurred within a week of each other.
Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz said he had no explanation for the increase in officer-involved shootings, but he suggested that several factors may be involved, including the economy and people being under a lot of stress.
In the latest shooting, Calbert allegedly kidnapped two women at knife point from the University of New Mexico Hospital parking garage. Police said they received a 911 call from one of the women, who was in the trunk of the car, and the responding officer shot Calbert when he allegedly attacked him with a knife.
"This is a case where an officer saved three people's lives: his life, and the two women," Schultz told the Journal on Tuesday.
There has been an increase in assaults and confrontations against law enforcement, particularly by people under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Schultz said.
However, according to APD's numbers for attacks on officers, the numbers of assaults and shootings have fluctuated, from a high in 2005 of 368 incidents to a low of 175 last year.
According to FBI statistics, New Mexico ranks in the top six in the country for assaults on police officers, Public Safety Director Darren White said Tuesday. White said there were seven officer-involved shootings in 2009, four in 2008 and 12 in 2007.
Schultz said Tuesday's shooting will undergo the same scrutiny as all officer-involved shootings, which are reviewed by a multijurisdictional team that includes the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office, State Police, the District Attorney's Office and the Office of the Medical Investigator. The matter is then forwarded to the District Attorney's Office and the Police Oversight Commission for review.
Schultz said the Albuquerque Police Department also does a critical incident review to see if anything could have been done differently.
Officers are issued and trained to use Tasers, batons and pepper spray; some also carry bean-bag shotguns. However, they are also trained to use the amount of force, or more, than they face from an assailant.
As for Tuesday's shooting, Schultz said his office will dissect the entire incident, beginning with the 911 call.
"We will look at the sequence of events," Schultz said. "What did the officer know at the time? Were his or her actions reasonable based on what he or she knew as it unfolded?"
According to White and Albuquerque police spokeswoman Nadine Hamby, Calbert forced the women into a car at knifepoint. He later argued with one of them, who had filed a domestic violence complaint against him, then struck her and knocked her into the car's trunk. Her friend was forced into the passenger seat. Calbert drove to the Flying J shortly before 1 a.m., where he ordered the woman in the trunk to give him money for gas. As she searched for money, she realized she had her brother's cell phone and called 911, leaving the line open.
A dispatcher heard her ask "How long are we going to be at the Flying J? ... How long do I have to be in the trunk?"
Albuquerque police officer Aaron Zwicky, a three-year veteran of the department, responded to the call. Calbert punched Zwicky and threatened him with a large knife, according to police. Zwicky shot Calbert an unknown number of times.
Calbert had a lengthy criminal history, including charges of criminal sexual penetration, child abuse, aggravated battery, burglary and larceny, and he was a registered sex offender, according to police.
Schultz said the officer was violently attacked with a knife and only had seconds to make a decision.
"We encourage and train our officers to use the amount of force necessary to safely resolve the situation, and sometimes that includes deadly force," Schultz said. "Unfortunately, in our job as law enforcement officers, there are no second chances. We take every shooting case extremely seriously."
Schultz and White said officer-involved shootings have an effect on officers and their families.
"The last thing they want to do is take someone's life," Schultz said.
2010 Officer-Involved Shootings
n Jan. 9: Aaron Renfro, 5900 block of Wyoming NE, is shot and killed after pulling a gun on the officer.
n Jan. 13: Kenneth Ellis, 1400 block of Eubank NE, is shot and killed after refusing to put handgun down in a parking lot.
• Jan. 29: Wayne Cordova, 8100 block of Connecticut NE, threatens others with a handgun on the roof of a home, officer shoots him in the torso. He survived.
n March 4: Vehicle carrying suspected shoplifters on 3500 block Sequoia NE turns, accelerates at officers. An officer fires but misses.
• March 29: Robbery suspect Mickey Owings leaves a Walmart, 2500 block of Coors NW, tries to flee in a Jeep and hits police cars. An officer shoots and kills him.
• April 14: Benjamin Marquez, armed with a small handgun, threatens officers in the 2100 block of Broadway SE and is shot three times. Survived.
• June 10: Chris Hinz allegedly threatens officers with a rifle in the 5500 block of Carruthers NE. Two officers fire, killing him.
• JUNE 15: Julian Calbert, near I-40 and 98th Street, is shot and killed when he threatens an officer with a knife after having kidnapped two women.