Albuquerque police kill man in crisis who was allegedly wielding spear

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Albuquerque police fatally shot a man who officers said was wielding a makeshift spear and having a mental health crisis Friday afternoon at an apartment near the ABQ BioPark. Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque Police Department spokesman, said the man was in his early 40s, and a relative told police he had behavioral health issues "dating back several decades."

He said two officers shot the man, and no officers were injured. It was the second time Albuquerque police shot a person in less than a week and the fourth time this year, but the first incident that has been fatal.

In 2022, Albuquerque police tallied a record-high 18 police shootings, with 10 being fatal. Several of those shootings involved people in the midst of a mental health crisis, often threatening to kill themselves. Gallegos said Friday's incident began around 3 p.m., when a woman called 911 to report that her brother was threatening suicide. He said police handled the suicide call, partly due to the sister saying the man also threatened to kill her.

He said officers went to the man's apartment at The Beach, a complex at Central and Tingley. He said police talked to the man through a door and back window, but he wouldn't come out. Gallegos said officers requested a Mobile Crisis Team — which includes a behavioral health clinician — but one wasn't available.

Two of the officers at the scene did have enhanced crisis intervention training, he said. Police determined the man was alone in the apartment and no one was in danger, so they were planning to leave. Gallegos said the man suddenly came out armed with a homemade spear, a 6-foot pole with a knife td to the end.

Gallegos said the man threatened three officers with the pole repeatedly at close range as they backed away. He said an officer tried to use a Taser on the man twice but was unsuccessful, once because the man knocked the prongs off. He said the man eventually had two officers backed up against the balcony of a breezeway, with nowhere to go, and around that time both officers fired, striking the man.

He died at the scene. Gallegos said police learned the man had changed his Facebook profile hours earlier to say he was a "professional killer."

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