Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Man Killed by Police Had Mental Health Issues
By Astrid Galvan
Journal Staff Writer
A man shot and killed by police after threatening two officers with a knife Monday suffered from schizophrenia, his family told police.
Len Fuentes, 41, died at University of New Mexico Hospital after being shot twice during an altercation with two Albuquerque police officers around 11:30 p.m. It was the ninth officer-involved shooting this year.
Two officers responded to a domestic dispute call at an apartment complex in the 3400 block of Crest SE after a neighbor heard a loud dispute, spokeswoman Nadine Hamby said.
Officers Jeremy Hollier, a three-year veteran, and Anthony Glodon, a two-year veteran, responded to the incident.
When the officers arrived, they found Fuentes outside with his wife and mother-in-law. According to a search warrant affidavit, Fuentes was arguing with one of the women. The woman was putting belongings into a vehicle while Fuentes stood at the door of the apartment screaming and acting aggressively, police said.
The officers approached Fuentes and told him to turn around so they could see if he had a weapon, according to the affidavit. He refused to turn around several times before complying.
Glodon then noticed Fuentes had a knife in his waistband and alerted the other officer. Fuentes reached for the knife, and Glodon grabbed his arm. A struggle between Glodon and Fuentes ensued, according to the affidavit.
Eventually, Fuentes slipped out of the officer's grasp and backed away, raising the knife in his right hand.
The officers raised their weapons and commanded him to drop the knife, to which Fuentes responded, "Shoot me (expletives)!"
Fuentes then lunged toward the officers. Hollier fired two shots at him, one in the chest and one in the stomach.
Fuentes died a few minutes past midnight on Tuesday at University of New Mexico Hospital.
Police said he had mental health issues and a criminal history in California. He does not appear to have a criminal history in New Mexico.
The officers were placed on standard paid administrative leave.
Fuentes' was the ninth officer-involved shooting this year. The last officer-involved shooting was on June 15, when an officer shot and killed a man who was threatening him with a large knife after having kidnapped two women.
That same week, SWAT officers shot and killed a 43-year-old man at his home after he brandished a high-powered rifle at them.
There were seven officer-involved shootings in 2009.