As of Thursday afternoon more than one mile of Juan Tablo Blvd. was still closed from Lomas Blvd. to Indian School Rd. as police from multiple agencies continued to investigate the shooting of three Albuquerque Police officers and another that was injured that happened at the scene of a robbery near Dutch Bros. Coffee. Officials told media that one suspect was shot and detained, as well as several other suspects who were detained until the police determined their role in the crime scene.
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina reported that one officer was in critical condition after being shot in the chest above his bullet-proof vest and was in surgery at UNMH. Another officer was shot in the arm and was also transported to surgery at UNMH. A third officer sustained a gunshot to the leg, and the fourth officer was injured from shrapnel.
“My first and foremost concern is the well-being of these officers and their families. We have to stand together as a community right now. These are four officers shot in the line of duty, and I’m asking that we pray for them.” Medina said officers from Valencia County, Sandoval County, Bernalillo County, New Mexico State Police and the FBI are all assisting as part of the Regional Task Force.
Medina told media that this was the fourth time in two weeks that APD officers have been shot at. He expressed his frustration at the growing crime problem and that the criminal justice system needed to be strengthened. “We have to be able to say that some people just belong in jail.”
Witnesses described a chaotic scene, with dozens of officers swarming the streets in SWAT gear and tanks rumbling down Juan Tabo, while helicopters flew overhead. “I was scared. I was terrified,” said Angelica Aguiliar who was near the scene of the shooting when officers began responding. “I was nervous, because my son goes to school at Chelwood [Elementary], and they were put on lockdown, and my brother-in-law works at Manzano Mesa High School, which is also on lockdown.” She says her younger brother was shot earlier this year at a party at a friend’s home and is now paralyzed and in a wheelchair. “I don’t understand how it’s so easy to get a gun. The crime is out of control now, and people’s lives are being ruined.”
Deju Pillars was with her friend at the Circle K when officers began arriving on the scene. They were both in town from Moriarty for the day. “We saw them load somebody into the ambulance, and we saw officers in helmets everywhere,” Pillars said. “We’re not used to this type of crime happening outside of Albuquerque. This is something out of a movie. Crime in New Mexico right now is worse than it’s ever been.”
Queen Lisa is a cashier at the Samon’s Electric & Plumbing store on Juan Tabo Blvd. and Lomas Blvd. She said she heard shots from the street and ran out and saw police everywhere. They advised her to close down the store for safety reasons. “They told us a suspect was on the loose and to stay behind the yellow tape, which is just everywhere.”
APD is asking that anyone who has video footage or witness information about the crime scene and the suspects or video footage from any of the businesses in the areas of Juan Tabo to Constitution Blvd. NE to call 242-COPS or to report it anonymously here.