Residents outraged by deadly standoff
ALBUQUERQUE — On the surface, it seemed like a case that police had no choice but to respond with deadly force: A man barricaded himself inside an Albuquerque home, reportedly threatening his wife and their two children with a gun.
Police sent a SWAT team and a department psychologist to get Armand Martin, a 50-year-old Air Force veteran, to surrender peacefully during a long standoff. His wife, who called 911, told a television station that Martin suffered from depression and “just went crazy.”
Police said Martin came out of the home firing two handguns. An officer opened fire and fatally shot him.
Although the initial facts appear to support officers' use of force, the shooting generated outrage in the city of 550,000 and sparked another angry protest.
Some residents said they have all but lost faith in the police. Angry demonstrators took over the regularly scheduled city council meeting on Monday night — chanting for the ouster of the police chief, shouting at council members and causing so much disruption that the city council president adjourned the meeting.
Critics say the shooting is another example of persistent problems in the city's police department.
“They just can't resolve these engagements peacefully,” said David Correia, an American Studies University of New Mexican professor who helped shut down the city council meeting. “Saturday's shooting just demonstrates the way this department operates.”
Albuquerque police are under tough scrutiny following a harsh report from the Justice Department over use of force and its interaction with suspects struggling with mental illness.