11/02/2007

N.M. police fatally shoot suspect in chase

By Joel Gay
The Albuquerque Tribune
    
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A chase at speeds over 100 mph through the West Side, Rio Rancho and the North Valley early this morning ended when an Albuquerque police officer shot and killed the man being chased.

Police spokesman John Walsh said four patrol cars were rammed as officers tried to stop the man, and that one officer was injured when his vehicle was hit.

The chase began around 1:30 a.m. on Coors Boulevard Northwest when an officer tried to pull over a red Chevrolet pickup truck that had no license plate, Walsh said.

Instead of stopping, the driver sped off, quickly exceeding 100 mph, the officer reported.

The officer broke off his chase when the police helicopter flew in and began to follow the pickup, Walsh said.

Even with no police cars in pursuit, Walsh said, the driver drove all over the West Side and into Rio Rancho "in an extremely reckless manner" and at continued high speed.

When the driver came back down Coors and turned onto Montaño Road Northwest, heading toward Fourth Street, police cars began attempting to stop him, Walsh said.

Police cars were used at roadblocks at several locations, but the pickup hit them and kept going, Walsh said.

Around 2 a.m. police had the man trapped on the east end of Veranda Road Northwest, a cul-de-sac north of Candelaria Road and west of Rio Grande Boulevard.

The man attempted to drive onto up onto the bank of an irrigation ditch but was stopped by a fence, Walsh said.

When the man backed into a patrol car - the fourth hit during the chase, Walsh said - an officer opened fire and shot the driver.

The man's identity was not available early this morning, and police had no idea why he fled from the initial stop, Walsh said.

The injured officer was taken to an area hospital for treatment, but appears to be in good condition, Walsh said.

This was at least the seventh officer-involved shooting in the Albuquerque area and the fifth fatal shooting since New Year's Eve, when a Bernalillo County sheriff's deputy shot and killed a man in the South Valley.

APD officers shot and killed an armed man in a suspected stolen vehicle in the North Valley in early January and an armed man in the Southeast Heights in June.

Another county deputy shot and killed a burglary suspect in July, and APD officers wounded a man in an altercation a few days later.

An armed robbery suspect was shot and killed by an APD officer in the Northeast Heights on Oct. 8, and another officer wounded a man who aimed a rifle at him Oct. 14.

As with all officer-involved shootings, today's incident will be investigated by a team from the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department, Bernalillo County District Attorney's Office, State Police and APD, Walsh said.

Copyright 2007 The Albuquerque Tribune

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