Suspect in Walgreens hostage situation identified

The man accused of taking two Albuquerque Walgreens employees hostage with a knife for an hour Monday evening has been identified.

Authorities have named 51-year-old Richard Balboa as the suspect.

It happened at the Walgreens on 98th Street and Gibson Boulevard in southwest Albuquerque. Police say no one was hurt and the suspect has been taken into custody.

The Albuquerque Police Department says the suspect went inside the store around 7 p.m. and began threatening customers.

Employees say Balboa grabbed some knives, ropes, and tape from the shelves then went to the alcohol counter and began unwrapping the items. 

He then held a knife to the throat of a female employee while demanding to talk to police. 

Police say all the customers got out safely, but the two Walgreens employees were stuck behind the counter in the liquor section.

Officers tried to negotiate with Balboa for more than an hour before APD’s SWAT team ended the situation. They forced their way into the Walgreens and rushed the suspect.

“He was hurt during the interaction, but we cannot take a chance of not entering that building when the opportunity arises to extract hostages by an insane person holding a knife,” Albuquerque Police Officer Simon Drobik said.

As of Monday night, police were still unable to say exactly why he threatened people inside the store.

However, a criminal complaint stated an officer believed Balboa was intoxicated.

Police were also unable to tell KRQE News 13 if he suffered from any mental health issues.

They did say the Balboa will be treated for injuries at a local hospital before he is booked into jail.

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