ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A SWAT situation in northeast Albuquerque ended with a suspect dead, and an Albuquerque police officer recovering from getting shot. The injured officer is recovering at home with his family Thursday night.
APD Chief Harold Medina confirmed it was a SWAT officer who was shot in the arm.
Medina says he was taken to UNM hospital and was released a few hours later.
Police leaders say the shooting happened after a standoff at the Copper Ridge Apartment complex off Tramway Boulevard.
Viewer video showed SWAT teams preparing to enter the building.
Medina says officers were searching for a man who had a violent felony warrant. Once officers got to the complex, the suspect’s family members reportedly alerted police he was inside an apartment with a 2-year-old child, who was potentially in danger.
“As officers were attempting to make entry into the home, the individual opened fire on the officers, and at least two officers returned fire at this time,” said Medina.
Medina confirmed officers killed the suspect.
Chopper 4 video showed the size of the scene early Thursday afternoon. There were a dozen police units, armored trucks and other vehicles.
Medina says the suspect’s warrant was connected to a gun-related incident in Santa Fe. He was also a person of interest in a recent homicide in Albuquerque, but he wouldn’t say which one.
Police leaders noted these large-scale operations are sometimes necessary for the suspects they’re trying to arrest.
“These are warrants for dangerous individuals, so these aren’t just any felony warrants. Obviously, that proved out today, that’s the reason SWAT was involved,” said APD Spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos.
Medina says it appears a second officer was shot in the leg, but was protected by bulletproof gear.
He says police are still figuring out exactly how many shots were fired during the incident.
Southbound lanes of Tramway were shut down for several hours during the investigation, but they have been reopened.
On Wednesday, KOB 4 talked about APD’s Tactical Division, and how they’ve had an active year with 54 SWAT call outs so far.
Leaders said situations exactly like this were very possible because the tactical division is purely reactive. They respond to the situation based on how the suspect acts, and provide necessary support to other divisions.
Medina talked about the connection between these activations and the department’s effort to clear the warrant backlog.
“We are pushing our officers to become as proactive as possible as you’re going after some of the worst of the worst, and these individuals know they have pending warrants, and they’re gonna go to jail. Sometimes these individuals make rash decisions. So there’s always a risk, but it is increased as we become more and more proactive,” said Medina.
Leaders told KOB 4, on average, 40 members of law enforcement respond to these activations.
“We’re doing as much as we can to support other units with an agency, and support our community the best way we can. And that’s the results you’re seeing is this increased activity,” said Ken Willy, deputy commander of APD’s Tactical Division. “Tactical activations are purely reactive, we’re reacting to events emerging within our community, and responding to the requests of field services, personnel and detectives.”