Albuquerque Police laid out their case for a shooting that left an armed robber dead outside a busy supermarket.
Richard Rivera was shot and killed on June 16, outside a Smith’s grocery store, ending what police called a dangerous crime spree.
The officer who shot him is no stranger to deadly shootings.
“[The chase] resulted in an officer shooting Mr. Rivera before he could create a violent hostage situation in the Smith’s,” Lt. Ray Del Greco said at a news conference Thursday.
Police say the chase started when Rivera and his passenger, Jennifer Rael, drove a rented U-Haul to rob a Verizon store on Menaul and San Pedro.
Police tracked one of the stolen phones to the UNM area. Police said Rivera fired shots while driving.
“In a subsequent interview with Ms. Rael, she stated that Mr. Rivera fired so many rounds at officers, she couldn’t keep count,” Del Greco added.
Throughout the course of the chase, police threw out spike strips to stop Rivera, and a sergeant performed a PIT maneuver by ramming into Rivera’s van.
That’s when APD Officer Jonathan O’Guin stepped in.
“Officer O’Guin fears that Rivera is going to shoot at Sgt. Edison, so he begins to engage Mr. Rivera,” Del Greco said about O’Guin shooting at Rivera’s van.
Rivera kept driving, and officer O’Guin followed him to Coal and Yale where he rammed the van before a short foot pursuit outside the Smith’s.
The Albuquerque Police Department said this marks officer O’Guin’s third deadly shooting on the job.
His first was in 2016 when he shot 58-year-old Dennis Humphrey, who police say was making threats against officers. Then in July 2017, police said 43-year-old Robert Savelli would not pull over his moped during a traffic stop, then pointed a gun at O’Guin.
As for this latest incident, APD insists the officer was acting in self-defense.
“He also stated he heard Mr. Rivera say twice, ‘I have a gun, I have a gun.'” Del Greco said.
Police never found a gun on Rivera after the shooting, but later found it inside the van.
Police said Rael bought the gun that Rivera used in the chase because as a convicted bank robber, he couldn’t buy one himself. She currently faces federal gun and bank robbery charges.
O’Guin is still on standard paid leave.