Albuquerque police killed a man during a shootout late Tuesday afternoon, an incident that comes on the heels of increased scrutiny of the city’s police department.
A second man was wounded in the shooting, but not by police gunfire, said Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Tanner Tixier. The shooting is the department’s third this year. No officers were seriously injured, Tixier said, and as of early Wednesday police investigators had not yet interviewed the officer involved in the shooting. Few details were released and police did not say what provoked the shooting in East Albuquerque.
Police said the slain man was wearing body armor and fired the first shot. At least one officer returned fire, the department said. A weapon, which was not described in a news release, was found nearby, according to police.
Patrick Dowless, who lives near the scene of the shooting, told the Albuquerque Journal that he saw what he believed was a body.
“I heard 11 to 14 shots and heard screeching tires and sirens, so I knew something was happening,” Dowless said. “I went outside and saw lots of officers running toward a body and some running the other way. The officers were standing over the body, but when the paramedics arrived they stood up right away.”
The city of Albuquerque and the Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights are finalizing major changes to the department, which is under investigation after a scathing federal report criticized its use of force. Since 2010, Albuquerque police have been involved in 42 shootings, 29 of them fatal, including Tuesday’s violence.
The latest shooting came a day after Bernalillo County Dist. Atty. Kari Brandenburg announced she was seeking murder charges against two officers for the March shooting of a homeless man.