Tragedy sparks reminder about ACS services

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque’s Glenwood Hills neighborhood is dealing with two losses after last week’s shooting spree in the neighborhood near Montgomery and Tramway.

Police say the suspect – John Hunter – shot three people and killed 31-year-old Alicia Hall, who was headed way home from an appointment that afternoon.

Police say Hunter was suffering from a mental crisis at the time of the shooting.

"That mental health crisis led him to kind of explode, if you will, that started a chain of events that led to what happened,” an APD representative explained at last week’s neighborhood association meeting, one day after the shooting.

The city’s newest arm of the public safety department, Albuquerque Community Safety, was also at that meeting to provide resources to neighbors.

ACS leaders later shed more light on how Hunter’s “explosion” could have been avoided.

"A big part of neighborhood watches is making sure that you watch out for each other,” said Mariela Ruiz-Angel, the director of ACS. “There are ways to be involved without being too invasive in someone’s life. And that’s just waving, and checking in, and getting some eye contact."

Leaders say, catching signs early that your neighbors might be struggling, is key.

"If you see something or hear something, the neighbor’s house consistently feels like there’s a lot going on there,” said Ruiz-Angel. “Mental behavioral health issues– they can show up in different ways. Sometimes we wait and we’re like ‘i don’t know if I should, this really feels scary, what if he gets hurt? what if police come out and something worse happens?’ Police and ACS and fire are all trained to really work with folks that have those mental behavioral health issues,” said Ruiz-Angel.

48 ACS responders are now taking about 1,000 calls per month. They respond in the same way APD or AFR would to any other emergency.

After a tragedy like what happened in Glenwood Hills, city leaders hope to see a heightened sense of what your neighbors could be going through.

"Check in on them– ‘hey are you okay? Are you doing alright?’ If you start to feel the sense of you know any sort of sense that maybe something’s not okay, this is where calling 311 would be appropriate,” said Ruiz-Angel.