ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A 19-year-old woman suspected of stealing a truck was shot and killed during a chase with Albuquerque police, making her the third person in five weeks to be killed by officers and the first since the department was put under federal orders to reduce the use of deadly force and reform a culture of abuse and aggression.
Police Chief Gordon Eden said the shooting occurred Monday morning.
“An officer pursued on foot when the suspect stopped, turned and pointed a handgun at close range,” Eden said.
Police identified the woman as Mary Hawkes, the daughter of Danny Hawkes, a retired magistrate judge in Valencia County south of Albuquerque.
Court records show Mary Hawkes had two previous run-ins with the law as an adult, one for drinking in public and another for shoplifting, according to the Albuquerque Journal. As a juvenile, she was charged in 2011 with attempted criminal sexual contact of a child under 13. She was convicted of a lesser battery offence and sentenced to two years of probation.
Police said the shooting was still being investigated and the department expected to release more information at a news conference Wednesday. The department did identify the officer who fired his gun as Jeremy Dear, who has been with the department since November 2007.
The shooting comes just weeks after a series of sometimes violent protests against Albuquerque police, who have shot at 38 people since 2010, killing 24. Of those killed, Hawkes is the first woman.
Tension over the department’s use of force escalated last month after police shot and killed a homeless camper in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains during a long standoff. Video from an officer’s helmet showed police fired on the man, James Boyd, 38, as he appeared to be preparing to surrender. Just over a week later, police shot and killed Alfred Redwine, 30, after a standoff.
Earlier this month, the Department of Justice released the results of a more than yearlong investigation of the department, which said officers too frequently used deadly force on people who posed a minimal threat and used a higher level of force too often on those with mental illness, often violating their constitutional rights.
In response, the mayor has hired a team to implement reforms, and the Justice Department has scheduled a series of public meetings next to gather comments on possible reforms.