On Tuesday, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office gave an update on the investigation of the deputy-involved shooting that occurred on November 26 near Edith Blvds and Montano Rd NW. 18-year-old Elijah Riche, armed with an AR-15 style pistol and backpack with more firearms, was shot and killed by Deputy Ronald Perez, a 10-year BCSO veteran. It was Perez’s first officer-involved shooting.
According to bodycam footage released by BCSO, Riche attempted to flee a hit and run on Edith and Montano after crashing his red SUV into two cars. A deputy was at the intersection responding to an unrelated call when the incident occurred. The deputy then pursued Riche south on Edith before Riche crashed his SUV into a chain-link fence and trailer business at Edith Blvd. and Nikanda Road. Surveillance footage of the scene showed Riche attempting to flee the scene on foot, armed with a gun, along with a bag. BCSO said Riche left a 12 gauge shotgun in the vehicle before fleeing on foot.
According to BCSO Capt. Nickolas Huffmyer, who presented the bodycam and surveillance footage during the press conference, Riche refused to comply with the deputy’s commands, after being told that he needed to put down the gun or they would shoot. Bodycam footage showed that Riche ran towards two BCSO officers before Perez fired a single shot that struck Riche in the back. Riche died shortly after.
Huffmyer stated that Riche was armed with a .223 AR-15 pistol when he was struck in the back. Riche also had a backpack at the time he was shot. Investigators recovered three different pistols from the backpack.
According to BCSO, Riche had no criminal history as an adult but had a juvenile record. BCSO did not release details about why Riche was in possession of five firearms and did not release his motivation to flee from law enforcement.
According to Riche’s obituary, he was a recent graduate of Valley High School in Albuquerque.
The shooting is still under investigation by the Multi-Agency Task Force, a collaborative team that investigates officer-involved shootings. Deputy Perez is on administrative leave pending the investigation.