ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Police released new details and video Friday in the case of an accused bait car thief who was shot by police after he allegedly fired a gun at officers last month. The shooting happened around 7:30 a.m. on July 5, 2021, near the intersection of Osuna and San Mateo.
At a news conference Friday afternoon, APD showed extended clips of bait car and police officer body camera video, capturing key moments of the shooting. APD says the events unfolded shortly after the department’s Auto Theft Unit was notified of a bait car activation near Central and Louisiana on the day most people were off work, observing the 4th of July holiday.
Police say two field officers eventually caught up with the bait car in the area of Pennsylvania and Osuna about a half-hour after the car was stolen. Officers then remotely disabled the vehicle near Osuna and Seagull Street, roughly 1.5 miles away from where they first caught up with the vehicle.
As the car was disabled and began slowing down, bait camera video shows the suspect, Dalton Cunningham, 26, fired multiple rounds at officers who were following Cunningham in a standard patrol unit. As Cunningham fired rounds, police body camera video shows two officers returned fire.
APD says one of Cunningham’s gunshots hit the windshield of the following APD patrol unit, right between the driver and passenger officers. The department says another round hit one of the tires of the following patrol unit.
Bait car video shows Cunningham was struck in the chin with an officer’s bullet. Cunningham then got out of the driver seat of the bait car and ran toward an apartment complex at Osuna and Seagull Street NE. Officers eventually caught up to Cunningham and arrested him without further incident. No officers were hurt in the shooting.
APD says officers Curtis Hoffman and Nathaniel Matheson both fired their weapons. Hoffman has been with APD since 2017 and Matheson has been with APD since 2019. Neither officer has been involved in any prior police shooting cases. Both officers are back on regular duty.
Police say Cunningham suffered “non-life-threatening injuries.” He has since been indicted in the case and is facing charges including two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen firearm, drug possession, burglary tool possession, evidence police office and reckless driving. APD says the gun Cunningham used was reported stolen out of Santa Fe County where he’s also facing charged in multiple other criminal cases.