Albuquerque police kill man inside El Mezquite Market

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UPDATE: Albuquerque police identified 41-year-old Mark Peter as the man shot and killed by officers.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Police say they shot and killed a man inside a grocery store Saturday afternoon in northwest Albuquerque.

The shooting happened inside El Mezquite Market during one of the busiest times of day.

“We are extremely lucky as a community today that no citizens were killed or injured during this incident, or any officers were injured or killed,” said APD Chief Harold Medina. 

Albuquerque police leaders say the incident started inside an AutoZone parking lot nearby. 

A man was found sleeping in a car connected to several felony warrants.

“Officers slowed things down, they set up some spike belts, and other stuff to make sure that the individual wouldn’t be able to leave,” said Medina. 

An hour later, police say the suspect woke up and drove away – with flat tires. He made it across 98th Street to a parking lot before police say he took off on foot, heading towards the supermarket.

“The guy was like turning around to see where to hide, and I think the first place that he saw was the Mezquite Market,” said Vladimir Rojono, a worker at El Mezquite Market.  

Rojono says he was working at a cash register when the suspect ran in and tried to take a stand against the officers pursuing him.

“He tried to shoot to the feet of the cop, but the cops respond suddenly with the taser gun shooting in the head,” said Rojono. 

Police confirmed that a second attempt to intervene also didn’t work. Rojono says that’s when bullets started flying.

“The finger on his gun gets stuck, so he shot everywhere that he can,” said Rojono. “I was trying to like dance to avoid the bullets. I saw a little like, dust from the bullets, that when they tried to shoot the floor.” 

Medina says officers shot and killed the man at the checkout counter. Police are still investigating how many officers opened fire and how many rounds were shot.

But, Medina was clear that things could’ve ended much worse.

“There were a ton of people in here, that when I say that we were fortunate that nobody was injured or killed,” said Medina. 

Witnesses told KOB 4 there were about 100 people inside the store during the shooting.

Rojono said many people were hiding behind shelves and fridges trying to dodge bullets.

Medina says they’re still working to identify the suspect, but added the warrants connected to his car appear to be drug-related.

He added the suspect was armed with several knives, including one hanging from a necklace.