ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Four officers were shot while responding to a robbery, authorities said Thursday. Police Chief Harold Medina said one of the officers was hit in the chest above his bulletproof vest and was listed in critical condition. One officer was shot in the arm and another was saved when he was struck in the vest. The fourth officer was injured by shrapnel or glass.
Police vehicles also lined the road near University of New Mexico Hospital, where the injured officers were taken. Medina said two of the officers were undergoing surgery.
The city has been struggling with a record number of homicides this year, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham just this week announced she would be reassigning more state police officers to New Mexico’s largest city in an effort to ease some of the burden.
Republican lawmakers have asked for the Democratic governor to call a special legislative session to address what they have described as a public emergency, saying the state needs tougher criminal statutes and that repeat offenders need to remain behind bars.
Albuquerque officials acknowledged recent tragedies, including a school shooting last week that left a 13-year-old student dead. The police chief also noted that it was nearly 16 years ago to the day that the city lost two veteran police officers in a deadly shooting rampage committed by a man with a mental illness.
“It’s a very emotional time,” Medina said.
Lujan Grisham’s office said the governor was horrified by the events involving the Albuquerque officers on Thursday. Spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett said the governor and the administration are keenly aware of the public safety issues facing the Albuquerque metro area and that the additional state police officers began working with local law enforcement Tuesday.
“The governor has committed to substantial public safety investments, including an effort to fund and support 1,000 new police officers statewide over the next decade, in the coming legislative session,” Sackett said, adding that the governor looks forward to Republican support of initiatives aimed at helping local jurisdictions combat violent crime and keeping repeat violent offenders locked up.