ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The family of a man shot and killed by the Albuquerque Police Department in 2021 claims the officer used excessive force while responding to a mental health emergency. In their lawsuit, the family insists Juan Cordova’s death was avoidable.
Police arrived on the night of April 16, 2021, after Cordonva’s girlfriend called 911 and reported that Cordova had fired one round from a handgun inside his house on Coyote Canyon NW. The suit contends Cordova was having a “depressive episode.” While on 911, the girlfriend told a dispatcher that he tried to fire a shot at himself.
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Video from the night in the Ventana Ranch neighborhood showed him drinking, cussing at officers, and making suicidal comments all while holding a gun. Officers instructed Cordova to come out unarmed with his hands up. 30 minutes after police arrived and tried to talk to Cordova, Officer Bryce Willsey said he believed officers and nearby residents were in danger and shot and killed Cordova.
This came after APD said Cordova fired a shot but it isn’t clear where his weapon was aimed. It was Willsey’s fourth officer-involved shooting in three years. The suit claimed Cordova was “obviously suffering from a mental health crisis” and that “Willsey’s decision to use deadly force was intentional, reckless, and negligent.”
The lawsuit was moved to federal court this week after the Cordovas filed an amended complaint claiming Juan Cordonva’s civil rights were violated.