ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A knife-wielding man yelled at Albuquerque officers to shoot him after he allegedly attacked a woman believed to be his girlfriend and then slashed the throat of a man who tried to help her, police said Friday.
At a news briefing, Deputy Chief William Roseman played audio recordings from the officers, in which they yelled at him to drop the knife and he yelled back for them to shoot him.
The officers pleaded with the man, later identified as Ralph Chavez, but Roseman said the man continued to aggressively approach them.
“I do not want to shoot you! I do not want to shoot you!” an officer is heard telling Chavez, according to the audio released by police.
Then, at least eight shots are heard.
Chavez was taken to an Albuquerque hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, Roseman said.
Roseman did not release the names of officers in the shooting, but he said they have been placed on administrative leave pending a multiagency investigation.
Police also did not release lapel video footage, and Roseman said police were still examining it.
“At last report, the good Samaritan was still hospitalized but has improved and is now in stable condition,” Roseman said. His name also was not released.
This marks the third fatal shooting by the Albuquerque Police Department since the U.S. Justice Department released a scathing review of the agency’s use of force and the 40th police shooting since 2010. The report also faulted Albuquerque police for how officers interacted with suspects who have mental illness and how the police SWAT team resolved conflicts.
The city has entered negotiations with the Justice Department over reforms and it could take months before the two sides outline an agreement.
In recent weeks, critics have stepped up the pressure on Albuquerque police by holding street protests and crowding City Council meetings to demand immediate reforms.
Earlier this month, angry demonstrators took over the regularly scheduled City Council meeting, chanting for the ouster of Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden, shouting at council members and causing so much disruption that the panel’s president adjourned the meeting. Protesters tried to serve a “people’s arrest warrant” on Eden and then held a mock council meeting in the chambers.
Demonstrators were removed from the next meeting by police when some approached the podium and refused to speak to protest the council’s rule changes on speech.
This week, councilors approved a measure that would require that future police chiefs hired by the city get confirmed by the council. The measure now goes before city voters in a referendum.
Critics say they are planning a June rally and march.