ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department held a news conference on Wednesday, April 26 at 1 p.m. In the conference, APD officials released more details on an officer-involved shooting that happened March 29, near Central and Atrisco.
According to APD Chief Harold Medina, at around 6:30 p.m. on Mar. 29, dispatch was called about an aggravated assault and possible domestic dispute near Central and Atrisco. Chief Medina says about 20 to 30 minutes after the initial call was made, it was upgraded in priority after dispatchers learned a man was armed with a gun. When officers arrived, they were notified by dispatch that shots were being fired.
They moved in and told the suspect, 32-year-old Francisco Macias, to drop the gun, which then lead to shots being fired. Macias then attempted to flee on foot when officers say a bystander wrestled the gun out of the suspect’s hands and threw it over the fence. Officers determined Macias was no longer armed and were able to take him into custody.
APD Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock spoke in the conference, stating that five officers fired their guns during the incident. All of the officers belong to the southwest area command and are currently back on duty. The officers involved were Anthony Guerrera, Ralph Rodriguez, Garrett Maxson, Eduardo Munoz, and Angel Ortiz-Arvizo. Hartsock stated that none of the officers had any prior officer-involved shootings.
Police Testimony of Events
In the initial police call, the caller claimed that Macias appeared to be under the influence and exhibiting abnormal behavior toward his mother and aunt. The caller also informed police that Macias was armed and shooting the gun in the front yard of a residence.
On their way to the scene, officers were flagged down by a distressed man who stated he had seen a male firing a gun down the street. Dispatch reported the sound of gunshots in the background of the 911 calls as well. Videos taken by people nearby the shooting show Macias firing shots into the air outside a residence. During the conference, several 911 calls were played, one of which was from Macias himself, claiming that someone was holding his mom hostage.
When police arrived, they took cover behind cars that were parked by a curb west of where Macias was located. Officers allegedly gave repeated orders for Macias to drop his firearm, but he instead took cover behind a car.
Two males near Macias tried to disarm him, and according to police, Macias then raised his gun toward one of those men. In Officer Maxson’s lapel video, as well as Officer Guerrera’s lapel video, repeated orders for Macias to drop the gun can be heard before multiple shots are fired.
After shots were fired, Macias can be seen in an air support video fleeing into the backyard of a residence. There, he ran into one of the male victims from earlier, who disarmed him and threw his gun over a fence.
Macias then moved back to the front of the residence and used the other male victim’s body as a shield from the gunfire. Officers then surrounded Macias and commanded him to surrender. When Macias refused, officers fired non-lethal ammunition, as well as a taser, at Macias in an attempt to get him to release the victim. Lapel video shows Macias being tasered and arrested.
Hartsock reports that 46 casings were recovered from the crime scene: 36 from police rifles, one from a police handgun, and nine from Macias’ handgun. Macias’ handgun was found in a flower pot in a nearby yard.
According to police, Macias had a projectile in his foot that has since been removed through a medical procedure; it is unclear if the projectile came from a police weapon or Macias’ weapon.
Macias was initially booked into a detention center but has since been released due to lack of victim cooperation, which caused the case to be dismissed. The Albuquerque Police Department says they will continue to investigate this case and are looking into the potential of pursuing other misdemeanor charges.
Chief Medina says he hopes city councilors look at this case as an example of how APD officers are improving. Medina also expresses the department’s frustration with the turnaround time in cases like this.