ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico (NM) Attorney General (AG) has released his findings in a case where a 15-year-old died in a fire. The death happened in July 2022.

NM AG Hector Balderas looked into a situation from July 6, 2022, where law enforcement is accused of being involved in the death of Brett Rosenau.

On that day, police had been trying to convince Qiaunt Kelley to come out of a home. Kelley had been barricaded inside the home with the 15-year-old. Police reportedly used a tactical device to try and end the standoff, and after an hour, the house caught fire. Rosenau died in the fire.

The unfortunate death of 15-year-old Brett Rosenau was avoidable, and it appears that
less-lethal tactics to detain the suspect earlier would have mitigated fatal risks. I am requesting APD Chief Harold Medina and Bernalillo County Sheriff-elect John Allen work together to evaluate safe and effective non-lethal force options during felony apprehensions in order to enhance safety in our community.

NMK AG Hector Balderas

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In a statement addressed to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), AG Balderas noted there could have been an opportunity for officers to apprehend Kelley before he barricaded himself inside the home with the teen. If Kelley hadn’t barricaded himself, the AG said there would have been no reason to use the device that’s suspected of starting the fire.

Police responded to the findings.

I appreciate the willingness of Attorney General Hector Balderas and his investigators to review this tragic incident. The public deserved an independent review and Attorney General Balderas produced a thoughtful analysis of the actions of our officers. Just as important, the Attorney General recognizes that we cannot limit the options available to our officers when they are faced with the decision to use force against suspects. We have been working with the Department of Justice and the Independent Monitor to clarify our policies and ensure our officers understand that they have more options and discretion during critical incidents.

APD Chief Harold Medina