ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New details are emerging about a recent deadly encounter with Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies had with a man during a welfare check in the South Valley less than two weeks ago. At a news conference Thursday, BCSO released body camera video and a 911 call placed before deputies shot and killed Jared Romero, 35, who was armed with a knife.

The shooting happened on the 2300 block of Griffin Road SW on April 16, an area southeast of Coors and Gun Club Road. Video shows two BCSO deputies shot Romero as he walked toward them while holding a knife to his own throat.

Romero’s father reported his son to 911 dispatchers around 9:46 a.m. on the 16th, requesting a welfare check. The caller reported Romero as having “mental issues” and having been “diagnosed with dilutional disorder amongst other things.”

It’s unclear exactly what information was communicated to the two deputies who responded to the home. Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen said Thursday the call came out as a “welfare check,” something he said to him was “much more general.” He said the department is still investigating how and what information was communicated to responding deputies.

Outlining a timeline of events, Chief Deputy Nicholas Huffmyer said Thursday the shooting took place a little over ten minutes after deputies arrived on scene. Body camera videos show deputies knocked on the front door multiple times but did not receive an answer.

After speaking to a neighbor, BCSO says the two responding deputies looked around Romero’s house, attempted to call Romero, then attempted to call Romero’s father. As the deputies walked back to their patrol cars to leave the scene, BCSO says Romero ran out of the home with a knife to his throat.

“The deputies are confronted with an armed subject who’s closing distance on them, pretty rapidly, you see him running,” Huffmyer said. “And then he slows down, presumably about the time they draw their weapons.”

Video shows Romero then continued to walk toward the deputies with a knife at his throat. Huffmyer described Romero as continuing to close distance on deputies in a “clearly agitated state” based on Romero’s demeanor and tone of speech.

Huffmyer says deputies were around 12 feet away from Romero when they opened fire. Deputies Oscar Alvarez-Ruiz and Amber Cordero both fired their guns. Neither were hurt while Romero was wounded. BCSO says deputies tried to apply chest seal bandages over Romero’s wounds and used an AED, but Romero died at the scene.

The department says it only one prior contact with Romero at the South Valley substation in March, describing the encounter as of “a mental health type nature.” During that encounter, Romero was eventually voluntarily transported to Kaseman Hospital according to BCSO.

Huffmyer said the shooting remains under investigation by the Multi-Agency Taskforce. That will be followed up by an internal investigation.

BCSO and mental health

Along with emphasizing the continued investigation into the shooting and avoiding conclusions about what occurred, the subject of potential changes at BCSO also became a clear topic following the discussion of the Romero shooting. Offering condolences to the Romero family at the beginning of the news conference, Sheriff Allen also outlined a slew of changes he says the department is either investigating or pursuing.

I’d like to give my sincere condolences first of all to the Romero family, to make sure our S.O.’s heartfelt condolences are with them,” Allen said. “When never like to see the loss of life, so I want to make sure the family knows that.”

Toward the end of the news conference, Allen described communications, technology, training and policy changes he says BCSO will review. It comes just eight days after the department revealed the hiring of a Behavioral Health Compliance Manager, Diane Dosal.

On the communication front, Allen says the department is reviewing how information obtained by dispatchers is communicated to deputies responding to mental health calls. The department also says it will update its mental health related policies with community input. BCSO says those mental health related policies were last updated in 2013. In the realm of training, Allen said he wants to get more people in advanced crisis intervention training.

“I discussed the other day that I want a mobile crisis team, but at any point, that’s not always available,” Allen said. “I want to make sure there’s always deputies on shift that have more advanced training in contrast to the mandatory 40 hours of basically training that you have in academy for the state of New Mexico.”

Allen also threw support behind the idea of immediately dispatching a supervisor to “any type of mental health call” to provide a third person on the scene. That supervisor, Allen said, would have access to less than lethal tools, like 40mm sponge rounds. The Sheriff also said he is looking at livestreaming body camera technology, a virtual reality training system.

The Sheriff added that he’d like for BCSO to offer a “voluntary website” for family to send in information about mental illness to the department “so that it’s flagged better for dispatch.”