The Albuquerque Police Department held a news conference Friday morning to give updates on two officer-involved shootings, one of which dates back to Sept. 21 on Carlisle Blvd. The other was on Central Ave. on Sept. 27.
At 2:18 a.m. Sept. 21, officers responded to reports of shots fired in the area of 3000 Carlisle Blvd. Several reports came in via Shot Spotter notifications, and a resident also reported hearing multiple gunshots west of her residence a few minutes later. An officer arrived at about 2:25 a.m.
Police spotted a suspicious individual, later identified as Gabriel Garcia, 47, attempting to pry open the front window of the DK convenience store at the corner of Carlisle and Candelaria NE. with a small crowbar tool. Garcia attempted to walk away when he spotted the officer, and was asked what he was doing responding that he was urinating by the building.
As additional officers arrived, Garcia ran behind the store and was seen reaching toward his waistband and pockets several times as police pursued him. He proceeded west along Carlisle and jumped the fence behind a business on Candelaria.
Police instructed him to raise his hands or be tased. Garcia responded by throwing two softball-sized rocks at officer, Quan La, who said he feared he was going to be hit in the head. The officer then fired his weapon in an effort to stop Garcia. La then said Garcia again reached toward his waistband and, believing Garcia was reaching for a weapon, fired additional shots.
Garcia fled again. At 3:23 a.m., officers located him when they found blood in the area of an alleyway onto Aztec Road near Lafayette Drive. Police took Garcia into custody and found he had a gunshot wound to his upper right shoulder, and was transported to the hospital.
In total, La fired at Garcia at least 10 times, according to video and casings recovered at the scene, and no weapon was found in the area. In an interview with investigators, Garcia said he didn’t remember anything about the incident until officers applied a tourniquet to his arm. He also admitted to using methamphetamine and fentanyl prior to it.
Garcia was charged with aggravating assault on a police officer, attempted breaking and entering, possession of burglary tools, criminal damage to property under $1,000, and obstructing, resisting or eluding police officers. He is awaiting trial behind bars.
This is La’s first officer-involved shooting since he joined APD in 2015.
Over the next several months, APD will continue to investigate the incident. Detectives will continue interviewing any new witnesses that come forward and complete any forensic tests. After the investigation is complete, APD’s Force Review Board will forward the findings to the superintendent of Police Reform. The Multi-Agency Task Force will forward its case to the district attorney’s office to make any determination of criminal charges.
The Sept. 27 shooting on Central Avenue also involved notifications via ShotSpotter at the Whispering Sands Apartments, 12720 Central NE. A resident at the complex said that her neighbor, Oran Newson, 26, was upset about where she parked and pointed and shot a gun at her.
Officers attempted to negotiate with Newson for more than an hour as he entered and exited his apartment several times while consuming alcohol. He refused to comply with police commands. When he pointed his gun at officers, two of them discharged their weapons. Newson is currently recovering in the hospital under police supervision. No specific charges were mentioned at the press conference.
The following video is of the shooting incident of Gabriel Garcia.