ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – You’ve probably noticed more security officers at the stores where you shop. Chalk it up to the crime problem. While they don’t have the same authority as police, there’s still a lot of they can do to stop a dangerous crime.
Albuquerque police were taking pictures and scanning the area around Albertsons at Lomas and Juan Tabo Thursday. Investigators said a man rammed the front doors with his car, to serve as a getaway for a woman being questioned inside for shoplifting. That’s when a security guard pulled out his gun and shot the driver, killing him. The guard, who works for Desert Wolf security, most likely won’t face charges.
“It tells me that the officer acted within those guidelines and probably had a pretty high degree of fear, and had to act in a way that protected himself and those around him,” said IPS investigator Craig Davis.
Davis works for a different private security group. He said a need for more security guards at retail stores has soared as violence in our city has gone up.
“There’s not a week that goes by that a loss prevention employee isn’t assaulted one way or another,” said Davis. “Whether it’s physcially or by use of pepperspray, a knife or in last night’s incident, it was a car.”
If you look around town, you’ll most likely spot some sort of a security presence.
“Yes, I’ve noticed more of them there,” said local Judith Miller.
At places like grocery stores, shopping areas, even the Turquoise Museum in downtown. They’re hard to miss. Albuquerque police, for example, work overtime to provide security at more than 100 businesses. From Walmart to Home Depot, even Whole Foods. Private security officers are seen at places like Lowe’s grocery store.
“It just makes everybody feel safer I guess,” said local Rumaldo Mojica. That’s the goal: to help customers and workers have some peace of mind.
“I just want the public to feel safe as they’re out shopping, as they’re going out on their daily functions of life,” said Davis.
Those private security guards do have to go through state-mandated training. They’re allowed to apprehend suspects and call police, and use force if people’s lives are in danger.
The guard was hit by the car; he wasn’t seriously injured. Police have not released the names of anyone involved in the shooting, but court documents reveal the arrest of 32-year-old Taezha Ontiveros at the scene Wednesday night.
Witnesses told police she was part of the shooting but she refused to cooperate. Officers found meth in her bra. She was also charged with concealing her identity.