APD Chief Medina reacts to bodycam video of chaotic shootout that left 4 officers injured
Warning: The video above is graphic.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque Police Department gave KOB 4 a look at the shootout that happened between officers and a robbery suspect last month.
The bodycam footage shows the chaotic scene that, in the end, left four officers in the hospital. Even the police chief said this video is hard to watch.
Now, a month after this shootout, APD is still reeling from the impact it has had on their department.
“This was a very hard moment for the APD, seeing four officers impacted and injured in this incident, it was very trying on us,” APD Chief Medina said.
On Friday, APD laid out a timeline of what lead up to this shooting. They said before any shots were fired, dispatch received this 911 call:
“They robbed me, they literally held me at gunpoint and took all my stuff,” a 911 caller said in a recording.
But when officers located the suspects, the situation escalated quickly. First, in a narrow alleyway, over 50 shots were fired between the suspect and police. Two officers, James Eichel and Mario Verbeck, were shot and later hospitalized.
“I don’t like watching it,” Medina said. “It’s just something that a chief doesn’t want to watch his department go through.”
But that wasn’t the end of the shootout. On the other side of the alley, behind a Dutch Bros and Federico’s restaurant, even more shots were fired.
That is where officer Harry Gunderson and Sgt. Sean Kenny were both injured and also taken to the hospital. At the APD update Friday, KOB 4 learned they have both gone back to work.
“Officer Gunderson has returned to work, he is working in operations review and helping with administrative processes, and officer Kenny is back to work and is assisting at the firearms range. When officer Eichel and Verbeck are ready to come back we will do the same for them,” Medina said.
While all four officers have been released from the hospital, the recovery from what happened that day still continues
“I’m not only concerned about the physical impact but also the mental impact of how this is going to impact them the rest of their life and so time will tell. With time we will be able to see how they mend and how they mentally mend from what happened that day,” Medina said.
One suspect, James Ramirez from California, survived and is now facing federal charges.
The second robbery suspect, who has yet to be identified, got away and police are still searching for him.
Even though the investigation continues, one incredible thing about this case is no civilians were hurt and that is something APD says they are extremely grateful for.
“When you look at the wall of the Federico’s restaurant – that wall looked like Swiss cheese with the amount of shots that impacted that location. There were people inside, so yes, without a doubt, we are fortunate that citizens were not injured,” Medina said.
While APD has released the footage, they are still actively investigating this case and that could continue for the next few months.
When they do wrap up the investigation, the case will be passed on to the superintendent of police reform who will look over the evidence to make sure the officers followed APD policy during this incident.