ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Three police officers shot and killed a man linked into a white supremacist gang following a two-hour search and chase in Albuquerque — the 18th fatal, officer-involved shooting in the city since 2010.
The latest death occurred late Tuesday as the armed man was running toward the popular Sheraton Hotel in Uptown, and the officers concluded he was a danger to the public, Police Chief Ray Schultz said.
The man pointed a silver handgun at officers several times before he was shot, the chief said.
The killing came as the Police Department is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over the officer-involved shootings and high-profile abuse cases. The investigation was launched amid protests, lawsuits and demands by civil rights advocates.
Schultz said the latest shooting came after officers searched the city’s Northeast Heights area for two men who had been linked to a woman trying to sell or return stolen musical instruments to a store.
A recording from a police helicopter showed the suspect crawling out of bushes and running, firearm in hand, police said.
“Multiple commands given to him by the sergeant by the tactical team to stop and drop the weapon,” Schultz said. “He completely disregarded that and created a very dangerous situation.”
Schultz said the man was shot “three or four times.” He said the name of the suspect, who had 17 felony arrests, would not be released until family could positively identify him. Under standard procedure, the officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave as a multiagency task force investigates.
During a news conference Wednesday, Schultz only released the last names of the officers over concerns that the suspect shot was link to a white supremacist prison gang and another suspect remained at large.
Schultz said the woman with the stolen musical instruments was taken into custody but isn’t cooperating with investigators. Authorities were still searching for another suspect who fled in a pickup truck.