Less than two weeks after federal officials rebuked the Albuquerque Police Department for a rash of unjustified officer-involved shootings, an officer fatally shot a 19-year-old woman suspected of stealing a vehicle and pointing a gun at police, authorities said.
Mary Hawkes became the first person to be killed by Albuquerque police since the U.S. Justice Department released a scathing report that called for a systematic change to address what it said was a long-ingrained culture of deadly force within the Police Department.
Soon after Monday's shooting, Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden Jr. made a televised statement, stating that an officer fired at Hawkes, who had led police on a foot chase.
"The suspect stopped, turned and pointed a handgun at close range," Eden said.
Hawkes had a criminal record, including shoplifting and drinking in public, according to court records.
The shooting has sparked protests and a candlelight vigil. It's the latest in a series of protests — one of which turned violent last month — targeting the Albuquerque force. Since 2010, officers have shot 37 people, 23 of them fatally. The shootings prompted the Justice Department to open its investigation.
The federal recommendations come after a string of deadly officer-involved shootings, including the March 16 killing of a homeless and mentally ill man, James "Abba" Boyd, who was illegally camping in the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque. Boyd had been acting erratically, according to police, and got into an argument with officers before he was shot.
A video of that shooting surfaced last month, touching off more protests and unrest and prompting calls for better police training, especially on how to deal with the mentally ill.
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