Newly obtained Albuquerque Police Department (APD) records detail a full-on assault that filled a home on San Joaquin SE with gas multiple times, used flash-bang grenades and even lifted the roof during the hours-long SWAT standoff in July that killed 15-year-old Brett Rosenau.
Now, new police documents obtained by The Paper. detailing the all-out assault on the house where Qiaunt Kelley and Brett Rosenau were inside paints a chaotic picture, including how several officer reports say all of this was done despite Kelley attempting to surrender.
APD was attempting to arrest Kelley, who allegedly was involved in multiple crimes. However, the only warrant for Kelley’s arrest was a March parole violation warrant.
Previous stories by The Paper. detailed how, when Kelley did attempt to surrender prior to the house fire, police ordered him to stand up and walk through a side yard and, when he didn’t, they launched another flash-bang grenade behind him.
Detectives Were Watching
APD detectives were surveilling Kelley, and waiting for him at the house on San Joaquin from around lunchtime on July 6. They parked in unmarked cars watching for him and other officers took hidden positions around the house to block any means of escape. They watched and waited until they were certain a man in the front yard of the house was Kelley.
“Shortly after [5 p.m.] detectives were finally able to positively identify Kelley back at 8109 San Joaquin SE out in the front yard,” APD’s Joshua Richards stated in his report. “Sergeant Sandoval came up with a plan to contact Kelley and if he ran, as he had in the past, to contain him in the yard or house of 8109 San Joaquin.”
APD Detectives Raymond Marquez and Stephen Walsh were among the first to try and arrest Kelley. They drove up to the house together in the same car and both detectives got out.
“I heard [Marquez] give Kelley commands to get on the ground and to stop,” Walsh wrote in his report. “I then saw Kelley running north on the east side of the house and he climbed over a wall. I did not see Kelley again during this incident.”
Kelley and Brett Rosenau were stopped at the back wall of the home by other officers who pointed weapons at them and yelled at them to put their hands up. Then reports are unclear about exactly which door Kelley and Rosenau went into. Some officers said they went into the house, others said they went into a shed that may or may not have been connected to the home.
Equally unclear at this point was Rosenau’s age. He was initially identified as a boy between eight and 10-years-old.
“Due to Kelly (sic) and the unknown male entering the house and not surrendering it was deemed a barricaded subject situation and a tactical activation was started,” Walsh wrote.
According to APD policy, the SWAT team normally wouldn’t be involved in arresting someone with just a parole violation warrant. However, once Kelley was barricaded inside the home, SWAT was more easily authorized.
According to APD records, the SWAT team arrived at the San Joaquin home just after 8 pm and took over.
Robot, Rook and Flash-Bang
Officer report narratives, including those of APD Officer Allex Jaquez, who drove an armored vehicle known as a bearcat to the scene, and Officer Chandler Huston, who operated the rook, provide a detailed timeline of SWAT’s actions. Because these times are from officer narratives, they may vary slightly from dispatch records, which The Paper. has not yet received from APD.
Sometime after 10:22 pm. Huston used the rook to remove the front security screen door from the house.
At 10:29 pm Jaquez wrote, the bomb-squad robot broke through a chain-link fence, removed a tarp and looked inside the shed that officers said they saw Kelley go inside.
“A Noise Flash Diversionary Device was requested…in (sic) attempt to get a response from the subject,” Jaquez wrote. “The NFDD was deployed in the back yard way from the door. There was no response from anyone inside when the NFDD was deployed.”
But the robot operator told police that it looked like someone had escaped the shed and burrowed into the home through the drywall.
At 11:00 pm Huston moved the rook so APD’s drone and robot could go inside the front door. Minutes later at 11:04 pm it was announced over the radio that a phone had been thrown inside the house to try and communicate with Kelley.
At 11:14 pm it was announced over the radio that the other person with Kelley was not a young child, but a teen with “facial hair.”
At 11:15 pm a second NFDD was requested and two more flash-bangs were fired outside the home on opposite sides of the house. Officers reported there was no response after firing the weapons.
As of 11:30 pm the Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT) announced that they had made 35 calls to the “throw phone” that had been tossed in via the destroyed front door.
At 11:31 pm SWAT commanders authorized a plan to use chemical weapons, Jaquez wrote and gas was used in the shed Kelley had originally been seen entering at 11:49 pm
12:00 am July 7
Then, a second plan to use gas in the home was authorized at midnight, according to Jaquez’s report. During this attack, officers in both the front and the back of the home used gas canisters.
“While the chemical munitions were being deployed on side three,” Jaquez wrote. “I notice legs and feet appear from the ceiling of the shed from the inside. A male then fell to the ground.”
Gasping for Air
APD K-9 Handler Robert Sanchez also saw Kelley exit after the gas was deployed.
“Once the gas was deployed, [Kelley] was seen falling from the attic space in the ceiling by tactical officers on the backside,” Sanchez wrote. “It appeared that the chemical munitions affected him. [Kelley] sat on the ground grasping (sic) for fresh air and ignoring officer’s commands.”
What did APD do when Kelley was outside the house just after midnight, gasping for air? They ordered him to get up and walk to the front of the house to be arrested.
“[Kelley] remained laying down and would raise his hands,” Jaquez wrote. “I gave further commands to [Kelley] to stand up and show officers both his hands. He stood up and placed his hands on top of the door for a few seconds and fell down again on his back.”
A short video clip of these moments was previously released by APD, but the department has not said why none of the officers at the scene approached Kelley to handcuff him. None of the officers’ reports indicate that they attempted to approach Kelley during this time. The public release also failed to mention what might have prompted Kelley to go back inside the house after seemingly trying to surrender.
“A NFDD plan was approved to be deployed,” APD Sgt. Michael Jones who was temporarily assigned to the SWAT team wrote, “in (sic) attempt to propel [Kelley] to follow commands and walk towards officers.”
Instead of getting Kelley to walk through the side yard to officers to be arrested, APD fired the flash-bang grenade in the yard behind him, which had the opposite effect. Jaquez wrote that as soon as the NFDD was fired, Kelley stood up and went quickly back inside and shut the door.
At 12:30 am on July 7, rook operator Huston wrote that he was ordered back to the front door of the residence because someone had closed the main door that was previously ajar. Huston wrote that he broke the door open and because of some fabric behind the door, he knocked it free of the hinges so it would stay open.
Raise the Roof
Huston wrote about the moments after breaking down the door for the second time. “A plan was created and approved by tactical command to have the Rook break out the south side window on the far eastside (sic) so more gas could be deployed in the home.”
After the flash-bang sent Kelley scrambling back into the house, additional gas plans were authorized, APD SWAT Officer Joseph Gumble wrote in his report.
“A total ‘gas out’ was attempted with the intent of saturating the house with chemical munitions,” Gumble wrote.
At 1:06 am on the morning of July 7, the “gas out” was attempted. Jones wrote that chemical munitions were fired into the house on two different sides, but there was no movement from inside the home.
At 1:49 am Huston was ordered to prepare the rook to lift the roof off the south side of the house so more gas could be deployed in the crawlspace/attic area.
“I warned that…it appeared that side one was a structural wall and I planned to use extreme caution,” Huston wrote. “I carefully placed the grappler teeth under the trusses and gently lifted up just high enough for the drone to see inside the attic, approximately 12 inches.”
Huston lifted the roof one foot and a drone was flown inside but no one was hiding there.
“Once the drone advised it could not see anyone then a plan was created to deploy gas into the roof crawl space,” Huston wrote. “SWAT deployed gas into the roof.”
It wasn’t until 2:19 am that Huston asked for permission to lower the roof and then did so.
After that, APD fired more chemical munitions into the house, but again there was no movement or response from anyone inside.
At 2:29 am Huston wrote that a plan was approved by tactical command to break out all the window frames on the south side of the house and look inside with cameras.
At 2:32 am Jaquez wrote that officers reported possibly smelling smoke coming from the home.
At 2:34 am Albuquerque Fire Rescue was placed on standby according to Jaquez, then at 2:40 a.m. the tarp over the swamp cooler was seen melting.
“Once completed I was requested to remove the bottom of the window located on the south side, closest to the east corner so the robot could enter and to investigate what was smoking, this was at approximately 0247 hours,” Huston wrote.
At about 3:02 am Jaquez wrote that officers were trying to use their equipment to remove a smoking mattress from the home.
“Attempts to remove the mattress by robots were made,” Gumble wrote. “During these attempts, the mattress appeared to catch on fire.”
The robot was unsuccessful in removing the mattress and by the time Huston tried with the rook, the mattress was already on fire.
“The robot pulled back and I attempted to get over to the mattress in the Rook as quickly as I could to prevent the structure from catching on fire,” Huston wrote. “I utilized the boom to drag it out of the home and into the driveway were it caught the front of the Rook boom on fire. Using the boom I moved the mattress to the side of the driveway and quickly utilized the boom to remove the box spring from the home also engulfed in flames.”
After the unsuccessful attempt to stop the fire by dragging a flaming mattress out of the house, AFR was allowed to begin trying to fight the fire.
It was not until after the house was engulfed in flames that Kelley ran out the front door and was taken to an ambulance. That’s when officers learned that Rosenau was inside a bathroom. But APD officers also wrote that the smoke was too thick for them to go in after him and, by the time AFR did locate him, it was too late for the 15-year-old.
Officer reports indicate that APD SWAT used machinery to destroy the front door, remove the windows, remove cars from the front yard, destroy a chainlink fence and even lift the roof off the house on San Joaquin Ave SE in their attempt to capture Kelley.
APD SWAT temporary duty Sgt. Michael Jones’ report indicates that officers used flash-bang grenades twice and used chemical munitions five different times in and around the house in their attempt to arrest Kelley. It’s not clear from available records exactly which chemical munitions were used.
But SWAT officer John Holler wrote that he witnessed the deployment of chemical munitions such as OC Ferrets, CS Ferrets, Tri-Chambers and NFDDs.
The Paper. has reported before about the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) between the City of Albuquerque and the Department of Justice, including an Independent Monitor’s Report (IMR) that called out APD’s use of NFDDs to get a suspect’s attention or elicit a response.
In an eerily similar situation detailed in the Independent Monitor’s Report in 2020, APD SWAT used NFDD and 40mm Ferret Rounds to provoke a response from a barricaded subject. In that scenario, SWAT was called to assist detectives with an arrest. The same is true for the July arrest of Kelley. But just because it’s happened before doesn’t mean that the IMR believes it should be continuing.
“We have yet to receive an adequate ‘exigency’ explanation for the use of pyrotechnics to ‘stimulate a response,’” the IMR’s November 2020 report states. The report indicates that the department’s Force Review Board has repeatedly failed to question the use of the tactics to gain a response from suspects.