APD releases details on deadly police shooting outside apartment complex

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — APD released new details Friday about what led up to a deadly police shooting in northwest Albuquerque.

Police said 43-year-old Wendel Tagle was having a mental health crisis in late July, when he attacked his wife inside their apartment.

“She described her husband beginning to speak to imaginary people inside the apartment, and she tried to leave because she started to become afraid of Wendel,” APD Deputy Cmdr. Kyle Hartsock said.

That’s when police said she grabbed a gun – and someone fired. They went outside to tell neighbors they were OK, but things escalated. Police said Tagle grabbed the gun and shot his wife in the leg.

A neighbor called 911, and APD officers arrived on scene shortly after that call. They found Tagle hiding behind a storage unit.

There was reportedly a brief standoff before police said Tagle pointed his gun at them. That’s when one officer fired six shots, killing Tagle.

APD Chief Harold Medina said the shooting highlights a recent trend.

“It’s important that we really start recognizing and education the community on the intersections that we’re seeing, the intersection of mental health officer-involved shootings we’ve seen this past year,” Medina said.

APD said officers responded to a domestic dispute call between Tagle and his wife less than 24 hours before the shooting.

“During that call, they discussed the mounting stress in the relationship and in their workplace,” Hartsock said.

Members of Albuquerque’s Community Safety Department met with the couple of 14 years that day. They noticed Tagle was suffering from a lack of sleep, but said there was no evidence he might turn violent.

“Unfortunately, in this situation, the past was not able to predict what he would do in the future,” said Mariela Ruiz-Angel, the director of the Community Safety Department.

Medina said despite Tagle’s rapid turnaround, this case signals a need for faster emergency services.

“In this case, 24 hours was too long a period,” Medina said. “This escalated to the point where we have this incident form. We’ve got to develop processes in the system and as a community where we get resources out to people much quicker.”

APD said they are still waiting for toxicology reports to confirm if drugs or alcohol played a role in this.

Police also said the officer who pulled the trigger in this shooting was involved in another officer-involved shooting in 2018. APD said he is back on duty.