Albuquerque police release lapel video of deadly officer shooting

[anvplayer video=”5150950″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 21-year-old Julian Sanchez died on Nov. 5 after police shot him near Tramway and Menaul.

Police said Nicholas Steward was the officer involved in the shooting and is now on paid leave. Steward had no prior history and has been with the police department since 2020.

Police said Sanchez and a friend had been drinking heavily all night and left Sandia Casino around 2:30 in the morning.

“The vehicle passed Menaul and southbound Tramway and crashed into some road signs and came to rest in the median,” said APD Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock. “Officer Stewart and his partner officer responded to the car crash of the 1900 block of Tramway.”

As the passenger exited, officers approached the driver’s side of the vehicle.

“As officer Stewart approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, the partner officer yelled out that the driver had a gun,” Hartsock said. “Officers gave verbal orders for the driver to drop the gun.”

Lapel video shows the confrontation that ensued and shots are fired. Police said Sanchez died on scene, and the passenger who exited the vehicle was not hurt.

Police said Steward was later interviewed on his account of what happened and why he fired his weapon.

“He stated he had heard his partner officer yell that the driver had a gun and then he observed the gun for himself,” Hartsock said. “As he gave verbal commands for Mr. Sanchez to drop the weapon, officer Steward stated he believed that Sanchez fired the gun and started to point it at him so he fired.”

While Steward claimed he heard Sanchez fire a gun, a review of Sanchez’s gun shows it was not fired.

“The initial review of the gun in the vehicle indicates the weapon was not fired during this incident,” Hartsock said.

While the investigation is ongoing, a life was lost that a family continues to mourn. KOB 4 spoke with the Sanchez family shortly after Julian’s death in November.

“It’s a mother’s worst nightmare because, I’m supposed to go before my son, not him,” Julian’s mother said.

This is a developing story. Stay with KOB 4 Eyewitness News and for updates.