Lapel videos show Albuquerque police firing at fleeing suspect

May 3—The Albuquerque Police Department launched lapel videos Friday displaying two officers taking pictures at a fleeing car in a West Side neighborhood.

APD Cmdr. Kyle Hartsock, who oversees APD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, mentioned on March 30 officers Nathien Apodaca and Hernan Conchas opened hearth on a car with Alijah Archuleta, 19, and three others inside.

Archuleta, who was suspected in a drive-by taking pictures the day earlier than, evaded officers on foot and police discovered a stolen handgun, a rifle and $18,000 within the car he deserted. Archuleta was arrested in mid-April and informed police one of many bullets fired by police injured his foot.

Archuleta is behind bars at the Metropolitan Detention Center, dealing with a number of felony prices for firing a gun throughout a dispute together with his girlfriend on March 29.

Hartsock mentioned officers Apodaca and Conchas have each been with APD since 2021 and neither has been concerned in a previous taking pictures. Conchas has not returned to responsibility.

Lapel video exhibits Apodaca does not start firing — taking pictures by his personal windshield — till he’s within the car and it begins shifting. It’s not till a number of seconds later and the car is midway down the block that Conchas fires a single shot.

APD’s Standard Operating Procedures dictate that officers “shall not discharge a firearm at or from a moving vehicle, unless an occupant of the vehicle the officer is engaging is using deadly force, other than the vehicle itself, against the officer, or another person.”

That explicit directive has been a part of the usual working process since at least 2016.

Hartsock mentioned officers Apodaca and Conchas informed investigators they believed they noticed what seemed like a gun in Archuleta’s hand as he acquired into the automotive. He mentioned Apodaca informed investigators he noticed Archuleta elevate a gun in his route.

“It gets to about my feet and I decided to defend myself against an immediate threat. I thought I was gonna get shot,” Hartsock mentioned, quoting from Apodaca’s interview with investigators.

APD Chief Harold Medina mentioned Friday that prohibiting police from firing at shifting autos happened as a part of the division’s federally mandated reform efforts.

“I think it’s important that we recognize that … these situations all have unique characteristics, and I think that’s why it’s so difficult for us to always look at something (as) black and white,” he mentioned. “During the course of the administrative investigation they will come to the determination if shooting at this motor vehicle was appropriate at the time, and they will have to weigh factors such as, did officers feel that there was an immediate threat towards them?”

Hartsock mentioned the incident started when officers have been known as to the house the place Archuleta’s girlfriend lived within the 700 block of 59th, north of Fortuna. Archuleta had reportedly fired a gun exterior the house a day earlier and had returned with three different individuals.

The girlfriend’s mom requested police to intervene, and an arrest warrant had already been filed by officer Conchas for Archuleta in the day before today’s taking pictures. Police formulated a plan to method the house, with one other officer setting spike strips in case the automotive fled.

Lapel video exhibits Conchas pulling as much as the home and yelling “get on the (expletive) ground” as Archuleta and one other individual get into their automotive. Apodaca could be seen pulling up with one hand on the wheel and an AR-style pistol within the different.

As the automotive Archuleta was in begins to tug away from the curb, Apodaca fires a number of pictures by his personal windshield, in keeping with lapel video. At least six seconds after Apodaca stopped taking pictures, because the automotive is greater than 100 toes away, Conchas fires a single shot.

Lapel video exhibits one other officer utilizing spike strips to deflate the automotive’s tires and it was discovered deserted at a park southeast of the Big I. Officers searched the close by bosque and located a younger man who was with Archuleta, however no person else.

The man tells police, “I have no weapons,” and an officer replies, “We appreciate you cooperating,” as they handcuff him, in keeping with lapel video. The man tells police, “But I was scared. You all shot. They just picked me up, I swear to God.”

Hartsock mentioned the person later informed police he believed they went to the home to choose up Archuleta’s belongings and “he wasn’t sure why officers were shooting at them as they drove away.”

He mentioned rifle and a handgun, reported stolen in 2023, have been discovered within the automotive. Hartsock mentioned the rifle had been offered at a gun show in 2017, however no different particulars have been obtainable.

Officials mentioned Archuleta was arrested on April 16 at his mom’s condo within the University space. Archuleta informed police that, earlier than he acquired within the automotive, he had moved a rifle to the again seat “so it would not be in his possession if officers captured him.”

“He also said he received a minor wound on his foot that was received when officers shot at him,” in keeping with APD.

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