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Police: Veteran killed in standoff once treated for mental health issues

Created: 05/06/2014 8:33 AM
By: Jen Samp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The family of Armand Martin says he was a colonel in the Air Force, but in the 27 years of his military career, they say he never saw combat until this weekend.

Albuquerque police said Martin fired shots from inside this house in Ventana Ranch on Saturday, but that officers did not return fire. Instead, they said crisis negotiators tried talking to him for several hours.

APD Deputy Chief Erica Garcia said Martin had been treated at the VA hospital for significant mental health related issues.

Christy Tackwell has firsthand experience with veterans with mental illnesses. She says talking with aggravated patients can be a challenge.

"I would say anybody who is in a situation where they are highly aroused in terms of being very emotional and angry, de-escalation is the best approach," she said.

Albuquerque police said they tried to do just that. The SWAT team included crisis negotiators, a crisis devotion supervisor and the department psychologist. But once Martin started shooting from inside the home, officers used tear gas and wooden batons.

"Definitely during a SWAT situation where there are many techniques used such as rushing and tear gas and so forth, that is going to put anybody into a heightened sense of fight or flight," Tackwell said.

In the end, police say Martin came outside firing two handguns at officers. One SWAT officer then shot and killed him.

APD says lapel camera from the standoff will be released as early as Tuesday afternoon.


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