Truck wash employee charged with murder of homeless man

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Coss Truck Wash near 98th Street is back in business one day after a shooting left one man dead.

According to police, Coss Truck Wash employee Nicholas James Dee shot a homeless man Thursday.

The criminal complaint states that Dee told a group of homeless people to leave the property. When that happened, an employee said he saw “a man stand up from the curb and punch Nicholas in the face, hard.”

Dee reportedly responded by grabbing his gun and shooting the man who punched him. Authorities said surveillance video shows Dee chasing the man and continuing to shoot.

Retired police commander Paul Szych said that when given the choice to confront people who may be committing a crime – even as low-level as loitering – people should leave it to the police to handle.

“Let the police do what they do,” Szych said. “Call them, give them the opportunity to come out, respond, keep your eye on the individual. If they’re on your property, or you think they’ve committed a crime, do your best to keep your eye from a safe vantage point so you’re not in jeopardy, and let officers come and make that contact.”

According to the criminal complaint, Dee “felt bad and did not think he would end up shooting and killing someone today.” He now faces charges of second-degree murder.

Szych said people need to remember how quickly a situation like this can turn violent.

“The possibility of that turning violent, and now your actions being judged by a jury of your peers is a very serious thing that you had that you’ve just got to weigh out,” Szych said.

Police said the man who Dee shot did not have any weapons on him at the time. Dee is currently in jail, waiting to go before a judge.