07/06/2006

N.M. officer involved in fatal shooting

APD: 'Stepfather' Slain in Struggle
 
By T.J. WILHAM and JULIE MEDINA
Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)
Copyright 2006 Albuquerque Journal

An off-duty Albuquerque police officer was involved in a fatal shooting that left his "stepfather," Kirk Carroll, dead in his doorway Tuesday night, police said.

Investigators suspect that Carroll, 48, was struggling with Officer Orlando Camacho for control of the officer's service-issued weapon when it discharged.

Carroll is being described to investigators as Camacho's "stepfather," said John Walsh, an Albuquerque police spokesman.

Walsh said investigators are trying to confirm the information but have yet to find official documents that verify the relationship.

According to tax records, the South Valley home, 1716 Desert Breeze SW, is owned by the two men.

Neighbors said Wednesday that Carroll and Camacho appeared to be father and son.

Camacho wasn't scheduled to work his normal shift and investigators are trying to determine why he was in uniform at the time of the shooting.

Within hours of the shooting, Camacho, a three-year member of the department, was placed on administrative leave and released from police custody. He did give a statement to investigators.

"This case is being investigated just like any other. We are making sure that this investigation is conducted with the utmost integrity," Police Chief Ray Schultz said. "This is not an officer-involved shooting. This is a shooting involving someone who is an officer."

Police said they would submit the investigation to the Bernalillo County District Attorney's Office, which will decide whether charges will be filed.

According to police, at 11:05 p.m., Camacho called on his radio that he needed an ambulance and a rescue unit sent to his home for an "emergency situation."

When rescue crews arrived, they found Carroll dead, lying in the doorway.

Investigators said Camacho had just pulled into the driveway in his squad car and within minutes got into an argument with Carroll over "life issues," Walsh said.

Walsh said the dispute had been brewing over a long time.

The argument eventually turned into a struggle for the gun, police said. Investigators don't know if Camacho drew the weapon.

Walsh said tests will be done to determine who was in control of the gun when it fired.

"It is so preliminary in the investigation right now," Walsh said. Neighbor Christine Shugars said occasionally she could hear Carroll yelling at Camacho. "He wasn't nice to his son," Shugars said. She said when she asked Carroll to join the neighborhood association he was "rude" and told her he didn't care what happens in the neighborhood. "He just flat wasn't the friendliest," she said. However, Shugars' daughter, Trudy McKenzie, said Camacho is known around the area to be "pretty friendly." She said when one neighbor came home and found her house had been broken into, Camacho checked out the home to make sure it was safe for her.

Another neighbor, Irene Ornelas, said the two men were frequently outside working on the yard or the home and appeared friendly.

"Whenever we passed by (Carroll) would smile or nod," she said.

None of the neighbors said they heard anything late Tuesday beside fireworks and a lightning storm.

About five hours before the incident, Joshua Thomas was arriving at a friend's home just a few homes away from where the shooting occurred.

As he passed the home, he saw Carroll standing outside, wearing beige pants and a white T-shirt.

"I waved to him," Thomas said. "He waved back."

Camacho was in uniform and driving off in his squad car, Thomas said.

"He didn't look disturbed," he said.

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