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Witnesses describe events that led up to Comanche/San Mateo shutdown

Kassandra Nelson
October 20, 2017 10:39 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A dangerous string of events shut down a busy intersection and forced a nearby school into lockdown Friday afternoon on San Mateo Boulevard and Comanche Road.

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Police haven’t released much information, but witnesses said as the suspect’s plan unraveled, it impacted several people in the neighborhood.

Michael Ternus works at Monte’s Cigars on San Mateo. He said it all began with the men stealing a car. They then smashed into an Isuzu in front of the business. The driver, seeking help, got out of his vehicle and collapsed in the doorway of the cigar shop.

“He was having a very difficult time breathing – short quick breaths. And he couldn’t speak,” Ternus said.

He said he and other employees were by the man’s side until he was taken to the hospital. But that crash didn’t stop the suspects. According to Ternus, one of them then tried to steal another vehicle.

The situation escalated when that driver pulled a gun.

“One of the upsides to New Mexico is that you’re allowed to defend yourself, and it seems fairly obvious the gentleman they tried to carjack did exactly that,” Ternus said.

Another witness, Kenneth Miller, called it an “out of control” series of crimes.

“There was wrecked cars everywhere and cops putting up crime tape,” he said. “They were looking for somebody, saying we couldn’t leave – everything was on lockdown.”

Miller lives on Comanche Road and was at work Friday afternoon when he got a call from his wife. She was terrified and said a man was trying to beat down their door. When that man couldn’t get in, he took off.

Both Ternus and Miller said they saw one man arrested on scene and taken to the hospital. There’s no word yet from APD on if the other suspect is still on the loose, or if anybody else was injured.

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Kassandra Nelson

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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