ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The masked gunman killed outside Catholic Church offices late Wednesday had come from Ruidoso expecting to find a cash-filled safe, police said Friday.
During an afternoon news conference Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz identified the burglar as Mark Macoldowna, 31.
Among his many aliases is apparently Mark Beechum, the name accompanying a jail booking photo.
He was shot by Officer Mario Perez who had responded to a report of a burglary in progress at the Archdiocese of Santa Fe Catholic Center in northwest Albuquerque.
Macoldowna was carrying a safe from the center, but dropped it and fired three shots from a .357 magnum revolver at Perez before the pistol jammed, according to police. Perez, a seven-year APD veteran, then fired five times at Macoldowna with four bullets hitting their target.
Macoldowna's girlfriend, Kymberly Bates, 24, and a friend, James Kellogg, 33, both alleged to have been part of the heist, were arrested in Ruidoso and charged with armed robbery, kidnapping and conspiracy.
According to the criminal complaint, Macoldowna called Bates to ask her to drive up with a getaway minivan.
But police say when Bates arrived on scene, she was turned away by police, picked up Kellogg and drove back to Ruidoso where they were detained by New Mexico State Police.
They told investigators Macoldowna hated Catholics and thought money from all local parishes would be collected in the safe at the archdiocese administrative office, according to a criminal complaint.
Police say the three had been planning the robbery for more than a week, driving up to Albuquerque and conducting surveillance on the Catholic Center. Part of their preparations included buying masks, duct tape and zip ties from a Home Depot on Wednesday.
Albuquerque Police Department Chief Ray Schultz said Macoldowna has had many encounters with law enforcement.
"He would freely, openly carry a firearm, and he would often be seen in the Ruidoso area with a firearm on public display," Schultz said. "He's been arrested in El Paso on weapons charges, and he is also currently the suspect in another violent armed robbery with some of the same indications we saw here in Albuquerque."
Police said that at about 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday Macoldowna confronted an unarmed security guard at the Catholic Center, beat him and forced his to lead him to the safe. Despite being tied up, the guard was able to use his radio to contact his dispatcher who in turned called 911.
The guard was not seriously injured.
Police said the stolen safe was empty.
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