Wednesday’s Top Stories

Wednesday’s Five Facts

[1] APD Chief asks for independent review of SWAT call, 15-year-old’s death – Nearly a week after an Albuquerque Police SWAT standoff ended with a house fire and the death of a 15-year-old, APD Chief Harold Medina is now requesting an “independent review” of the incident. APD made the announcement in a news release Friday afternoon, asking the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office to lead the review. While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, Medina wrote in the letter to the Attorney General’s Office; “We believe a device used by tactical officers may have ignited the fire.”

[2] Former partner, forensic pathologist testify in day two of Smelser trial – Testimony continues for day three in the trial of Christopher Smelser, a former Las Cruces Police Officer accused of killing Antonio Valenzuela with a choke hold during an arrest in 2020. Smelser’s former partner got emotional during testimony in court Tuesday. He explained they thought Valenzuela was armed and that their lives were in danger. A forensic pathologist who oversaw Valenzuela’s autopsy also testified. She said he died by homicide, throat damage leading to lack of oxygen. She also says meth in Valenzuela’s system contributed.

[3] Mountain storms and cooler temperatures – A four corner’s high pressure system will dominate the region through the rest of the week into the weekend. This will recycle monsoon moisture over New Mexico, allowing for daily chances for showers and thunderstorms. Most storms will form over mountaintops before spreading into lower elevations over the next 5 or so days. Today will feature afternoon storms bubbling up over the mountains. However, unlike yesterday, most of the storms will be slow moving and are not expected to move into the lower elevations. Temperatures today are cooler than yesterday across the southern/eastern parts of the state. Highs are going to be in the upper 90s, with upper 80s to mid 90s across the north/central.

[4] Crews make temporary fix for westside Albuquerque sewer collapse – A new, temporary bypass pumping system seeks to help solve a major sewage problem on Albuquerque’s westside, near 64th and Coors. The bypass is now “successfully diverting flows” around the collapsed sewer pipe that broke Sunday night. Residents on the westside are still being asked to limit their water usage as crews continue to work on the collapsed sewer pipe. The request to limit water usage will be in place for the rest of this week. People are still cautioned to avoid recreational activity in the river south of I-40 because of sewage contamination.

[5] Albuquerque to honor Walter White, Jesse Pinkman – The City of Albuquerque is putting statues of Breaking Bad characters Walter White and Jesse Pinkman in the Convention Center. According to Sony Pictures and the city, Mayor Tim Keller, actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul along with the show’s creators will unveil the bronze statues inside the Convention Center on July 29. The studio says show creator Vince Gilligan commissioned the statues and is donating them to the city. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul both plan to attend the statue dedication.