Albuquerque police chief wants probe of teen’s death in fire

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Albuquerque police chief is calling on the state’s attorney general to review a teenage boy’s death in a house fire, which broke out after authorities tried to arrest a man inside.

Albuquerque police announced Tuesday that Chief Harold Medina has asked Attorney General Hector Balderas to lead a probe of the incident.

In a letter to Balderas, Medina says he is making the request out of “an abundance of caution.” He also asks for an independent analysis of the chemical device officers used at the time and deployment procedures.

Medina promised earlier this week that if police are found to have indirectly contributed to 15-year-old Brett Rosenau’s death, “we will take steps to ensure this never happens again.”

The teen’s death has elicited an outcry from the community and “Black Lives Matter” protesters. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico has also called on Balderas to conduct an outside investigation.

A police SWAT team last Thursday 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 an 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.

Kelley was treated at a hospital for burn injuries before being booked into jail. Police say he has refused to talk. It was not clear Tuesday if he had an attorney who could speak for him.

Albuquerque Fire Department officials said Sunday it may take two weeks to determine the fire’s cause.

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