ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department held a press conference Thursday regarding the three-year-long investigation of legally-purchased firearms that were then distributed and involved in multiple shootings throughout the city. APD Chief Harold Medina says 25-year-old Adin Kellner purchased at least nine firearms between October 2019 and December 2021 – seven of which have been recovered and are connected to 12 shootings in the Albuquerque area.
Chief Medina said Kellner enlisted the help of his 20-year-old brother, Riley, and 22-year-old Jimmy Ward in the operation of distributing the weapons. Of the 17 shooting incidents Medina says are connected to these guns, five people were injured and 163 rounds were fired. Of the seven guns recovered, six were in the hands of someone else; one was found as far away as Phoenix, Arizona.
Medina does not find fault in the sale of the guns to Kellner. He says, “The gun stores did nothing wrong; clerks at these stores did nothing wrong. These were properly purchased firearms. The thing is, Mr. Kellner and them provided these firearms to others and that’s where we started to see the issues and the problems.”
Medina instead points to the post-sale distribution as the primary issue, saying, “These individuals who are passing these firearms and acting as the middle person to put firearms in the arms of individuals who shouldn’t possess them or not purchase them, they are a big part of why we have so many illegal firearms in the city of Albuquerque, what’s driving our violent crime rates,” says Chief Harold Medina of the Albuquerque Police Department.
Medina says the suspect in this case, Kellner, is currently out awaiting trial with a GPS monitor on. He was arrested in January for shooting at his ex-girlfriend’s car. Two other people are implicated with having these guns as well: Kellner’s brother Riley Kellner, and Jimmy Ward.
APD’s Director of Communications Gilbert Gallegos said many of the shootings happened at parties or in public parks. “There was [a shooting] where I want to say, 50-something shots were fired and maybe ten homes were hit during that party,” Gallegos said. “It’s a miracle nobody died and it’s a miracle we have no fatalities in any of these shootings.”
During the news conference, Chief Medina offered a word of warning: “We want our criminals to know, we want individuals involved in these activities to know, that we will find those shell casings, we will trace those guns, and we will build a strong case for these straw purchases at the state level with the data we’re able to collect.”