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APD released details on officer-involved shooting and responses to public outcry

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina briefs the media on the officer-involved shooting
Gino Gutierrez
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina briefs the media on the officer-involved shooting

The Albuquerque Police Department released details Tuesday afternoon on an officer-involved shooting that occurred on August 28th, 2022 at a gas station in Northwest Albuquerque.

At approximately 11:14 p.m. APD received a call from a gas station employee who told law enforcement that a vehicle had been parked at the gas pump for several hours and asked if officers could be dispatched to check on the driver.

When officers arrived, they ran the license plate and determined that the registered owner of the car was 27-year-old Keshawn Thomas.

As the officers approached the vehicle, they located Thomas, who was asleep in the driver’s seat of the vehicle.

Officer woke Thomas up and asked him to step out of the vehicle, they also informed him that he was not in any trouble.

When Thomas exited the vehicle, officers detected signs of intoxication during their encounter with him and asked him what he was doing with open containers in the car.

It was at this point where APD said the conversation between Thomas and the responding officers became more heated and an additional officer was requested for assistance.

Officers asked Thomas if there was someone he could call and ask to pick him up from the gas station, Thomas said there was and asked if he could retrieve his cell phone from his vehicle.

The officers asked Thomas if he had any weapons on him or in the vehicle, and he responded by saying there was one in the trunk of his car and also handed one of the officers a loaded handgun magazine that was in one of his pockets.

Thomas then entered his car and began searching through the interior of the vehicle. Officers again instructed him to get his cell phone and exit the vehicle.

After approximately 30 seconds had passed, one of the officers called out that Thomas had a gun in his hand, prompting all three officers to discharge their firearms, killing Thomas.

All three officers told investigators afterwards that they saw Thomas produce a gun and point it at them.

A loaded handgun was recovered from the driver’s side of the vehicle.

Reaction to Thomas death of swift through the community, including a call by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico on September 6th that asked for APD to immediately release the body camera footage of the incident.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina responded to the ACLU’s call.

“I know the ACLU publicly made some statements about this shooting that I want to address. I think it's irresponsible for us at this time to jump to conclusions, we hadn’t even released video and I read statements that referenced some of the stuff that had been said. The ACLU is well aware of the fact that we release video on every officer-involved shooting with the exception of one that involved a federal investigation, since I’ve been chief of police. They know that we have to conduct an investigation and that when we’re able to, we’ve been fully transparent in the release of video. Claiming without knowing facts that this was an unnecessary and preventable death prior to this incident is very difficult for anyone to make statements towards it.”

The three officers involved in the shooting are expected to be back on the job by Friday.

APD is continuing to investigate this incident.