Updated: Wednesday, 13 Jan 2010, 11:17 PM MST
Published : Wednesday, 13 Jan 2010, 12:01 PM MST
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An Albuquerque Police Department officer shot and killed an armed suspect Wednesday who may have committed suicide by provoking the officer to shoot, according to Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz.
The man died at the scene outside a 7-Eleven store on the northeast corner of Eubank and Constitution NE. The shooting happened around 9:00 a.m.
Police identified him as Kenneth Ellis III, 25.
Schultz told reporters a team of officers had been patrolling the area trying to catch burglars and car thieves when they pulled over a black Corvette bearing a license plate that didn't belong to it.
Ellis then got out of the car with a weapon pointed at his head while he talked to his mother Annelle Wharton on a cell phone.
Wharton said her son called her at work Wednesday morning sometime after 9:00 a.m. and told her he loved her and his son before the call went dead.
"He very simply said, 'Mom I'm standing at the 7-Eleven at the corner of Eubank and Constitution with a gun to my head," Wharton said. "I'll remember it forever."
Witnesses at the scene said Ellis made comments about wanting to be killed by a police officer.
The APD officer repeatedly told the man to drop the weapon, the chief added.
"He wouldn't [drop the gun,] he was getting kind of aggressive like he'd swing around," witness Judd Adams said. "I felt like a couple times he might even shoot a cop."
Schultz said the standoff could have had a worse ending.
"There were other occupants in the vehicle," he said. "This was a very volatile scene because this is a very busy corner. We did have a number of people coming and going from the 7-Eleven—obviously which added a great deal of concern with the officers."
The officer's name has not been released. He was placed on standard three-day leave while the investigation proceeds.
Wharton said her son wasn't perfect and that what happened on
Wednesday was a cry for help.
"He had his faults but he was a good man," she said.
Wharton said Ellis was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He'd served in the Iraq war in 2005. Five months into his tour a bomb went off, killing his best friend and injuring his leg.
Wharton said her son was never the same person, but he tried to
get help. She said he was getting treatment at the Veteran Affair's
hospital until he was kicked out on Monday for not showing up to
the program on time.
"He's my baby," Wharton said. "I know that he always wanted to be a hero and in my heart he is. He served his country and I just wish we could've served him as well."
Police said they had a similar encounter with Ellis before.
Last summer police said before they arrested him on drug-dealing
charges he refused to put up his hands and told them, "Shoot me."
Wharton said Ellis never told her he wanted to die from suicide by cop.