AG says teen’s death in Albuquerque standoff was avoidable

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s top prosecutor says a teenage boy’s death in an Albuquerque house fire, which broke out after authorities tried to arrest a man inside, could have been avoided.

Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Friday, a day before he leaves office, the results of a review of the July death of 15-year-old Brett Rosenau.

Balderas says “less-lethal tactics to detain the suspect earlier would have mitigated fatal risks.”

He called on Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina and incoming Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen to work together on effective, non-lethal options when it comes to apprehending suspects.

Medina has asked Balderas to lead a probe of the incident. He promised that if police are found to have indirectly contributed to Rosenau’s death, “we will take steps to ensure this never happens again.”

A police SWAT team was involved in a house standoff with 27-year-old Qiaunt Kelley. Police say Kelley was wanted for a probation violation and for questioning in a recent homicide and officer-involved shooting.

Officers allegedly threw tear gas canisters and shot chemical munitions before the blaze started.

Police said Rosenau had followed Kelley into the house. After the fire was extinguished, Rosenau was found dead.

Arson investigators say the boy died from smoke inhalation.

His death sparked an outcry in the community and from “Black Lives Matter” protesters.

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