ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A suspected drunken driver who was shot after pulling a gun on an officer was an attempt at so-called suicide by cop, Albuquerque’s police chief said Friday.
The man even had a note in his wallet that said “thank you officer,” Acting Chief Allen Banks said.
Banks said police were able to interview Bobby Garcia, 64, for the first time Thursday to ask him why he pulled what turned out to be a pellet gun on Officer Peter Romero.
“He did admit to picking the pellet gun because it looks like a real gun and he wanted to use it have someone shoot him,” Banks said.
Banks said Garcia’s family said he was suicidal and under investigation for an undisclosed criminal matter.
Garcia was pulled over early Nov. 15 after being suspected of driving drunk. Banks said Garcia got out of the vehicle holding the gun and ignored repeated commands from Romero to drop it. Banks said Romero shot Garcia in the torso after Garcia pointed the gun at Romero.
At a news conference, Banks showed pictures taken from Romero’s lapel camera that showed Garcia pointing the gun at the officer. He called it a “prime example” of someone wanting to end his life by having an officer pull the trigger.
Garcia remains hospitalized. Banks said he will be charged with aggravated assault on an officer when he is released.
The incident was the latest in a series of officer-involved shootings in New Mexico’s largest city. The department is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for an escalation of police shootings and several high-profile cases of abuse. Since 2010, more than two dozen people have been shot by Albuquerque police, 19 of them fatally.