ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – On Friday, the Albuquerque Police Department held a conference regarding the August 22 officer-involved shooting where 57-year-old Roger Schafer was killed.
According to police, on August 22, 2019, a 911 caller reported a man in a white shirt at the bus stop near Copper and Eubank had pointed a gun at him. Around 3 p.m., a second call was made to 911 in which a different caller stated the man was waving a black handgun and was pointing it at vehicles.
During the conference, police indicated they were concerned for the public’s safety due to the high volume of traffic in the area. The armed man was identified in October to be Roger Schafer.
APD officers responded to the scene and reported that they created a “wall” with their own bodies in an attempt to place themselves between Schafer and the public. Officers then moved into the lanes of northbound Eubank as authorities instructed Schafer to put his hands in the air.
During this time, multiple officers reported seeing a handgun in the waistline of Schafer’s pants and warned him to keep his hands away from his waistband. Refusing to comply, Schafer moved from the ground to the bus bench and began to reach for the front of his pants.
An officer fired a non-lethal 40 mm launcher at Schafer, striking him in the left knee. Three other officers reported discharging their weapons in response to Schafer allegedly grabbing the tip of the gun.
“He was given commands,” Lt. Scott Norris said. “He decided to ignore those commands, and he made that overt act to grab that gun. It is a deadly force situation. Officers responded in accordance with their training. This person presented our officers and everybody involved to include the general public with a deadly force situation. The subject was given clear, concise verbal commands not to reach for his waistband.”
Schafer, who was shot 15 times, was pronounced dead at the scene. The weapon was later identified as a Daisy semi-automatic Power Line 415 CO2 BB-gun.
The APD officers involved in the shooting are Ofc. Paul Durham, Ofc. Kyle King, and Ofc. Randy Serrano. Roger Schafer had a lengthy criminal history, including drinking in public as well as assault on a police officer and disorderly conduct regarding a May 5, 2019 incident in which he was waving a hatchet at people on Central.
Schafer was transported for a mental health evaluation on two occasions in 2017.
Steve Bringe with Stand Up to Stigma said he helped APD develop their crisis intervention training when responding to mental illness.
“The challenges that both APD and our peers engage with in crisis are the same,” Bringe said. “It all has to do with safety. With peers, we need help to make best decisions for ourselves which is de-escalation.”
APD said all of its officers are trained in crisis intervention. They also have a COAST team that responds to subjects with mental illness, but they were unable to assist in Schafer’s case since civilians are on the team.
Police said Schafer was armed and posed an immediate threat to the public.
“In this situation, mobile crisis is not appropriate because you would not want to put a civilian in front of that situation,” Lt. Matt Dietzel said. “That had to be handled by officers.”
During the conference, APD stated investigation is in its initial stages and remains ongoing at this time. Authorities say the investigation could take up to a year to complete.
“We do not draw any conclusions as to whether the officers acted consistent with our policies until all facts are known and investigation is complete,” Chief Mike Greier said.