Thursday, July 31, 2008

Man Shot by Officers Critical

By Hailey Heinz, Journal Staff Writer

A man who initially called authorities to his home complaining of chest pain was in critical condition Wednesday after he refused treatment, said he had a gun, and was shot by officers.
Fire officials were called to the man's home on the 9700 block of Mesa Arriba NE and told the man they wanted to take him to the hospital for treatment, Albuquerque police spokeswoman Nadine Hamby said. The man, who police said is in his 30s, then became agitated and told them he had a weapon.
Firefighters withdrew and called police, who arrived at the home and got the man's family out of the house. The man also left the house, and police saw that he had a handgun, Hamby said. She said the man ignored police commands and appeared to be walking toward a neighbor's house when the officers shot him. It was unclear Wednesday whether all three officers fired or who hit him, but all were considered "involved," Hamby said.
The three have been placed on paid administrative leave while the department investigates the incident.
The man was taken to University of New Mexico Hospital with gunshot wounds, where he was in critical condition Wednesday night. Hamby declined to say whether police had previously been called to the house or whether the man had a criminal record. She also declined to say whether the man drew his gun or whether officers were armed with less-lethal weapons such as rubber bullets or stun guns.
Bryan Andrada, a neighbor, was riding his bicycle past the man's home when the shooting happened about 6 p.m. Andrada said he had seen police cars in the neighborhood and went to get a closer look when an officer with a drawn gun warned him not to get any closer. He said he couldn't hear the words between the officers and the victim but saw police shoot and watched the man fall. He said five shots were fired.
"To see somebody just go limp like that, it's pretty disturbing," he said. Andrada said he didn't see the man draw his gun or point it at officers.
Neighbors clustered near the shooting scene said the neighborhood is usually quiet, and even close neighbors said they didn't know the victim, who was a renter.
"It's such a quiet neighborhood," said Karen Armstrong, who has lived there for 14 years. "We put in speed bumps because speeders were our biggest concern."

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