Police shooting raises questions about gun access despite red flag law
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A crumbled wall is part of the aftermath of a police shooting in northwest Albuquerque.
Police say a man called from the Puerta del Sol Apartments off Golf Course and McMahon, saying he was in the middle of a mental health crisis, had a gun, and needed help.
“You see the police around, you think maybe they’re serving a warrant or some kind of regular police business,” says Chris Adkins, who witnessed the shooting.
However, after officers arrived, police say the man pointed a gun at them and that’s when at least two officers opened fire. Police say the man got into his truck and then they heard another gunshot. He reportedly took off and crashed.
Police say the man died, but they don’t know if officers killed him or if he took his own life. They haven’t released his name yet, but APD Chief Harold Medina says officers knew him well.
“In October this individual was involved in an incident where he led officers throughout the city armed with a firearm, this led to him being taken into custody outside of city limits,” Medina said.
Shortly after, the man was forced to give up his guns under New Mexico’s red flag laws. He shouldn’t have had access to a gun.
“This individual has been responded to several times by our police department with threats of suicide by cop,” Medina said.
The red flag law, also called the Extreme Risk Protection Order, allows officers to ask a judge to temporarily take guns from people considered a danger to themselves or others. That’s based on information coming from a relative, spouse, or even an employer.
However, lawmakers this session want to expand the law to lehealth care professionals make those requests. They also want to speed up the court process.
Police say they are still trying to figure out where the man got the gun used Thursday.
The two officers who fired their guns are on administrative leave as the investigation continues.
As far as those proposed changes to the state’s red flag law – those have already moved through two committees. The House is set to debate it Saturday.