ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Three Albuquerque Police officers are recovering from various injuries following a shooting in northeast Albuquerque. One officer remains in critical condition after being shot at the base of his neck, while three others are recovering and said to be in stable condition.
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The shooting happened before 10 a.m. Thursday near the Juan Tabo and Lomas, where officers were responding to a robbery call. At a news conference Thursday afternoon, doctors from the University of New Mexico Hospital said the incident resulted in doctors treating five people with gunshot-related injuries, including four officers and one suspect.
One officer was shot at the base of the neck, above his bulletproof vest according to UNMH Trauma Director Dr. Sonlee West. That officer was immediately taken to the operating room for “emergent exploration.” “He was stabilized, he is now out of the (operating room) and remains in critical condition,” Dr. West said.
A second officer was shot in the forearm. That officer is now said to be recovering after surgery. “He was stabilized and is now out of the operating room in stable condition,” Dr. West said.
A third officer was shot but protected by his bulletproof vest. Dr. West said, “if he had not had his bulletproof vest on, he would have sustained catastrophic injuries.”
The fourth officer was injured when shrapnel hit his eye. Doctors say that officer is in stable condition.
Throughout Thursday, officers’ cars lined the road along UNM Hospital. APD Chief Harold Medina spoke Thursday of the community and neighboring law enforcement support the department has received following the incident.
“I want to thank the community of Albuquerque for the outpouring of support today and for everything that everybody has done to assist us,” Chief Medina said. “Not only was State Police here, our partners with the (FBI) were quick to send resources, both tactically investigative and crime scene processing.”
Chief Medina also mentioned Thursday how officers observed the 16 year anniversary of the shooting deaths of APD officers Richard Smith Jr. and Michael King. Smith and King were shot and killed in the line of duty on August 18, 2005, as the officers went to take John Hyde into custody.
The chief, mayor and hospital staff also used Thursday’s news conference to address the gun violence in the city. UNMH Dr. Steve McLaughlin called the matter “a public health crisis.”
“Gun violence is a public health emergency that we are facing,” said McLaughlin, who serves as the hospital’s Chair of Emergency Medicine. “I would really ask that we continue to invest in research to understand the causes of this violence in our communities and that we work together as we are, as a community, through dialogue and policy to stop this escalating pattern of violence.”
McLaughlin says he’s been at the hospital for 20 years and has seen the gun violence continuously escalate over that time. He says the state is facing two public health crises with a limited medical staff: the COVID-19 pandemic and the surging gun violence, citing last week’s fatal school shooting and even saying his pager went off on the way to the press conference, alerting him that another gunshot victim was heading to the emergency room.
“Especially in a state like New Mexico, we have to recognize that this gun violence disproportionately affects our communities of color, our Hispanic populations, our African American populations suffer even worse from this violence,” said McLaughlin. “Today is another terrible, tragic example of this.”
The New Mexico Law Enforcement Foundation is accepting donations for the officers injured in the shooting. Anyone with photos or video evidence in the investigation can be made anonymous tips through this portal.
Doctors are also treating one suspect who sustained gunshot wounds. That suspect is said to be in stable condition.