ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Albuquerque police were closing in on a robbery suspect when a SWAT standoff turned deadly on the city's West Side early Tuesday afternoon.
Officers had information the suspect in three armed robberies was in the area of 60th Street NW just north of Central Avenue and were already working their operational plan when events escalated, Albuquerque Police Department Chief Ray Schultz said during a late afternoon news conference.
Shultz would only identify the suspect as a 31-year-old convicted felon, registered sex offender and member of the Sureños 13 gang wanted in armed robberies of a Valero gas station, Hawthorn Suites and an individual.
While Schultz would not name the suspect, family members at the scene said the dead man was Michael Marquez and that he had pointed a weapon at officers. A police spokesperson later confirmed Marquez was the suspect killed in the confrontation.
Schultz gave this account of what happened beginning Tuesday morning:
Officers had established surveillance in the area when they spot a woman known to be acquainted with their suspect. They stopped her and found she was wanted on a felony warrant.
While some officers talked to the woman, others spotted the suspect leaving an apartment and walking across an open field while carrying a bag.
As officers moved in, the suspect, realizing he was surrounded, became agitated and was holding the bag as if it contained a rifle. Discussions began, but the suspect refused to surrender as the SWAT team and special negotiators rushed to the scene.
Talk between the officers and the suspect went on for at least 15 minutes.
"He did make comments that he was not going to go easy, that he was going to basically go out with a bang, or words similar to that," Schultz said.
The SWAT team arrived but couldn't get close enough to use its non-lethal weaponry, and when a SWAT officer decided the safety of officers in the field and nearby civilians was in jeopardy, he shot the suspect killing him.
Shultz said the suspect's bag contained an AK-47 assault rifle and that the suspect had his hand inside the bag presumably on the weapon's pistol grip.
The chief said the officer is believed to have fired two shots; neighbors told News 13 they though they heard four.
Investigators are still processing the large crime scene, and Shultz said they likely would be there for several hours.
The Bernalillo County district attorney and sheriff's offices and New Mexico State Police have joined in the investigation of the shooting. And following a recent change in protocols brought on by the number of APD shootings, the city's Independent Review Officer is also participating.
This is the 20th shooting involving APD officers in the last 20 months and the 14th to turn fatal.
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