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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gang member dies in police standoff

8-31-2011 New Mexico:

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Albuquerque police were closing in on a robbery suspect when a SWAT standoff turned deadly on the city's West Side early Tuesday afternoon.

Officers had information the suspect in three armed robberies was in the area of 60th Street NW just north of Central Avenue and were already working their operational plan when events escalated, Albuquerque Police Department Chief Ray Schultz said during a late afternoon news conference.

Shultz would only identify the suspect as a 31-year-old convicted felon, registered sex offender and member of the SureƱos 13 gang wanted in armed robberies of a Valero gas station, Hawthorn Suites and an individual.

While Schultz would not name the suspect, family members at the scene said the dead man was Michael Marquez and that he had pointed a weapon at officers. A police spokesperson later confirmed Marquez was the suspect killed in the confrontation.

Schultz gave this account of what happened beginning Tuesday morning:

Officers had established surveillance in the area when they spot a woman known to be acquainted with their suspect. They stopped her and found she was wanted on a felony warrant.

While some officers talked to the woman, others spotted the suspect leaving an apartment and walking across an open field while carrying a bag.

As officers moved in, the suspect, realizing he was surrounded, became agitated and was holding the bag as if it contained a rifle. Discussions began, but the suspect refused to surrender as the SWAT team and special negotiators rushed to the scene.

Talk between the officers and the suspect went on for at least 15 minutes.

"He did make comments that he was not going to go easy, that he was going to basically go out with a bang, or words similar to that," Schultz said.

The SWAT team arrived but couldn't get close enough to use its non-lethal weaponry, and when a SWAT officer decided the safety of officers in the field and nearby civilians was in jeopardy, he shot the suspect killing him.

Shultz said the suspect's bag contained an AK-47 assault rifle and that the suspect had his hand inside the bag presumably on the weapon's pistol grip.

The chief said the officer is believed to have fired two shots; neighbors told News 13 they though they heard four.

Investigators are still processing the large crime scene, and Shultz said they likely would be there for several hours.

The Bernalillo County district attorney and sheriff's offices and New Mexico State Police have joined in the investigation of the shooting. And following a recent change in protocols brought on by the number of APD shootings, the city's Independent Review Officer is also participating.

This is the 20th shooting involving APD officers in the last 20 months and the 14th to turn fatal. ..Source.. by Amanda Goodman

Man killed in latest Albuquerque police shooting

Albuquerque police shot and killed a 31-year-old armed robbery suspect Tuesday, bringing to 20 the number of suspects who have been shot by police in the same number of months.

Police Chief Ray Schultz said officers saw the suspect — who he said had a long criminal record — coming out of an apartment holding a bag and confronted him. He said the officers surrounded the suspect and talked with him for 15 to 20 minutes trying to get him to surrender. But he said the man became agitated and indicated and he would not be taken, so a sniper shot him.

Schultz said the officer later found an AK-47 assault rifle in the bag.

"He was cradling the item...his hand was inside the bag," Schultz said. "He was deliberately turning and pointing the bag, which of course contained a rifle, in the direction of officers, as well as making comments, basically, prior to the events today that he was not going to either go back to prison or not be taken alive."

Schultz didn't know if the rifle was loaded or how many times the suspect was shot in a field behind houses in a southwest Albuquerque neighborhood.

The suspect had been under surveillance for the last few days after police had received a tip, Schultz said.

The man, whose identity wasn't released, was a convicted felon, known gang member and registered sex offender who was wanted for several armed robberies, Schultz said.

Tuesday's shooting brings to 20 the number of people shot by police since January 2010. Fourteen have died.

The latest shooting comes as city councilors and community activists are calling for a Justice Department investigation of the department. Justice officials in Washington are reviewing whether an independent probe of the escalation in police shootings is needed.

The police shootings also have drawn fire from some civil rights groups who charged that the victims have been mainly Latino.

Tuesday's shooting is under investigation by an independent panel, Schultz said. ..Source.. by RUSSELL CONTRERAS

Man With AK-47 Killed by Sniper

The man Albuquerque police shot and killed Tuesday – the 14th in 20 months – was a robbery suspect with a long criminal record who officials say refused to drop what turned out to be an AK-47.

After a short standoff with police, a SWAT sniper fired more than once, killing Michael Marquez, 31, in an open field near an apartment building, according to police.

Marquez, a convicted rapist, was a member of the notorious MS-13 gang, known for its violence, Police Chief Ray Schultz said.

About 10 to 15 family members gathered at the scene of the shooting near Central and 60th SW, crying and hugging each other.

Bill Marquez, the suspect’s brother, told a Journal photographer that just because someone is criminal does not mean they “should be treated like an animal.”

The incident began around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, when detectives working a Crime Stoppers tip regarding a man suspected in three armed robberies began watching Marquez, Schultz said.

Schultz said robbery detectives had gathered intelligence on Marquez and that confidential informants had confirmed his identity and whereabouts.

Detectives were watching Marquez at the apartment, just north of Central, when they spotted a woman who Schultz said was a known acquaintance of Marquez and pulled her over. When the woman was being pulled over, other detectives spotted Marquez walking out of the apartment on 60th Street.

Marquez had spotted police, seemed “agitated” and began making comments to them about not going back to jail and “going out with a bang,” Schultz said.

Marquez was holding a bag and refused to put it down, he said.

A crisis negotiation team was called in, but Marquez continued to disobey police commands, the chief said.

Negotiators tried to reason with Marquez for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, the department’s SWAT team had arrived on scene.

“He was basically going to go out with a bang or worse,” Schultz said.

Police suspected Marquez had a long gun or rifle in his bag because of its shape and the way he held it, Schultz said. Schultz said Marquez had his hand in the bag and was cradling it.

Officers felt vulnerable because they were in an open field with nothing to use for cover. In addition, there were civilians outside in the surrounding area, Schultz said.

Officers heard Marquez cycle the weapon. Schultz said AK-47s make a very distinct sound when cycled.

That’s when a SWAT sniper fired his rifle at Marquez at least twice, although police still are not sure how many shots were fired.

Marquez died at the scene.

Online court records show Marquez had an extensive criminal history.

In 1999, he pleaded guilty to rape and false imprisonment and was sentenced to four years, with credit for time served. Three years later, he was charged for failing to register as a sex offender, although that charge was dropped.

Marquez also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm in 2004. Court records show he violated his probation on several occasions.

Marquez got himself in trouble again in July 2006, when he was arrested for possession of drugs, and in 2008 for aggravated fleeing of police and car theft. Those cases were combined, and Marquez eventually pleaded guilty to all counts. He was sentenced to three years in prison, court records show.

Most recently, Marquez had been featured on Crime Stoppers for his suspected role in the armed robberies of two businesses and one person. One was on July 28 at a hotel, police said.

In the confrontation with police Tuesday, Marquez made comments about not going back to prison. Schultz said that the safety of officers and the public was jeopardized.

“Obviously no officer wants to find themselves in a situation where they have to use force,” Schultz said.

“Unfortunately, he dictated the series of actions,” he said.

Albuquerque police have been heavily scrutinized since a spike in officer shootings began last year.

There have been 20 APD shootings since January 2010, 14 of them fatal.

The department has faced citizen protests and could be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for possible civil rights violations. The Department of Justice is reviewing information to determine whether it will start an investigation.

A review ordered by Mayor Richard Berry last year recommended changes in training and procedures, most of which have been adopted by the department.

Schultz and other department leaders have maintained that officers have resorted to lethal force in situations where there were no other options, and that police increasingly encounter violent people. ..Source.. by Astrid Galvan / Journal Staff Writer

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