Author: American Military University
By PoliceOne Staff
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Police in New Mexico released body cam video showing an officer fatally shooting a bank robbery suspect who was firing at police during a pursuit.
During a Thursday press conference, the Albuquerque Police Department released video of the shooting that occurred in the middle of June, KOB-TV reported. Police said concern for public safety and a pursuit involving gunfire factored in the officer’s decision to shoot 47-year-old Richard Rivera.
On June 16, Lt. Ray Del Greco said Rivera and 39-year-old Jennifer Rael held up a Verizon store, which was their third armed robbery in less than a week. Del Greco said police tracked the pair in a stolen U-Haul van and began a pursuit after Rivera reportedly turned to Rael and said “It’s on” before pulling out a firearm.
Rivera fired so many rounds at police that Rael told investigators that “she couldn’t keep count,” according to Del Greco. After a spike strip failed to stop the van, police attempted two PIT maneuvers that also didn’t stop the van.
The van was eventually stopped in a store parking lot after a third PIT maneuver. An officer can be heard on video telling the fleeing Rivera to stop before firing six rounds at the suspect.
Officers attempted to revive Rivera, but he died on the scene. Rael was taken into custody.
Police said surveillance footage showed Rivera turning back at the pursuing officer and reaching toward his right hip before being shot. Del Greco said multiple witnesses told investigators that they heard Rivera say twice that he had a gun during the foot pursuit.
“[The officer] was afraid Mr. Rivera was going to either shoot him, an innocent bystander in the parking lot or someone inside the store,” Del Greco said.
Rivera did not have a gun on him at the scene, but did leave one inside the car, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Del Greco said police found a cellphone stolen from the Verizon store, a gun purchased by Rael for Rivera and empty shell casings after a search of the van.