APD chief: Tear gas used in response to man with AK-47

Created: 03/31/2014 7:28 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

APD chief Gorden Eden was both specific and non-specific at the same time, but did indicate that tear gas was used for a second time Sunday night because of a threat from one man.

KOB Eyewitness News 4's crew witnessed a man present to the crowd what APD confirms was a loaded AK-47: A real gun.

He was about 100 feet from the police in riot gear when he brought the gun out of a van he had parked in the middle of Roma Street.

Other protestors urged the man to put that gun away, and he did put it back into his van, but APD said they watched that man then re- enter the crowd, and not knowing whether he had other weapons, considered that to be a threat.

"We did not know what else he may or may not be armed with. The crowd had grown more and more unruly," APD Gorden Eden said.  KOB reported Caleb James asked Eden if he was attributing the second tear gassing to the guy with the AK-47. "That was part of it.," Eden replied. "That was part of the totality of the circumstance."

Eden said the man with the AK-47 fled the scene and the department is investigating, but he didn't indicate whether there may be charges.

The Albuquerque Fire Department said they offered treatment to one person as a result of the tear gas, but they refused. No one was hospitalized.

In the end, Eden told KOB he believed officers acted with "tremendous restraint": Allowing protestors to throw bottles and other objects at them throughout the night before they started using force.

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