ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department provided details regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on April 17, 2021, during a news conference on Friday, June 11. APD’s police chief calls the shooting concerning.
On April 17, officers were reportedly dispatched to a domestic dispute on Coyote Canyon Pl. in Ventana Ranch in northwest Albuquerque following a 911 call from Juan Cordova’s girlfriend and ended with an officer, with a history of shootings, firing a fatal shot.
Cordova’s girlfriend told police he was armed. He was suicidal and had a gun in hand outside of his house and police tried to talk him down.
Cordova died on the scene. In the initial 911 call, Cordova’s girlfriend told dispatch he tried to fire a shot at himself. In the news conference, APD showed a video where you can hear Cordova fire a shot but it’s not clear where his weapon was aimed. APD says 10 minutes go by, while you hear officers try to get Cordova to surrender.
Cordova made suicidal comments saying “he was only leaving in a body bag,” according to APD. Officer Bryce Willsey says he believed officers and nearby residents were in danger when he fired that fatal shot. Willsey has been with APD since 2016 and this is his fourth shooting in three years.
“You know, that’s always concerning for a number of reasons. Number one: the optics to the public. Number two: the well-being of the officers is always a concern. When somebody’s involved in this many situations… we’re concerned. How is it affecting them personally?” Chief Harold Medina said.
Medina says they are still investigating the shooting and when they’re done, it will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office to determine if charges are necessary. Medina also said Willsey asked to be removed from patrol and is now working in the missing persons unit.
Officer Willsey was also accused of tasing the wrong person a few years back. In 2018, APD was chasing a car thief near Central and Wyoming. A pair of officers crashed into each other and the thief ran off. Willsey and other officers asked a couple who lived nearby to tell them where the thief went. When they said they had no idea what they were talking about, Willsey tased the man.
They found the suspected car thief later. The man who was tased was never accused of crime and filed a lawsuit against the department. The city settled the suit for an undisclosed amount.