ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police said an officer shot and killed an auto theft suspect, the third shooting by officers in the troubled department in just over a month and the first on the heels of a federal investigation that faulted the department for excessive force and a culture of abuse and aggression.
Police Chief Gordon Eden said the shooting occurred Monday morning during a chase.
“An officer pursued on foot when the suspect stopped, turned and pointed a handgun at close range,” Eden said.
Police confirmed the suspect was a woman but did not immediately release her name, saying her family had not yet been notified.
No further details about the shooting were immediately available.
The shooting comes just weeks after a series of sometimes violent protests against Albuquerque police, who have shot at 38 people since 2010, killing 24.
Tension over the department’s use of force escalated last month after police shot and killed a homeless camper in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. Video from an officer’s helmet showed police fired on the man, James Boyd, 38, as he appeared to be preparing to surrender. Just over a week later, police shot and killed Alfred Redwine, 30, after a standoff.
Earlier this month, the Department of Justice released the results of a more than yearlong investigation of the department, which said officers too frequently used deadly force on people who posed a minimal threat and used a higher level of force too often on those with mental illness, often violating their constitutional rights.
In response, the mayor has hired a team to help implement reforms.