Family of armed Albuquerque man shot and killed during shoplifting incident sues city

Family of armed Albuquerque man shot and killed during shoplifting incident sues city

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The family of a man shot and killed by the Albuquerque Police Department is suing the department. That deadly police shooting happened in November 2023 near the Cottonwood Mall as officers chased an armed man accused of shoplifting.

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The attorney representing the family of Pete Jacob Martinez claims Albuquerque police used excessive force in the shooting. He said the case represents another deadly encounter between police and the mentally ill.

“There was no reason to shoot Jacob when he was shot with a handgun. There was absolutely no necessity. It was an unnecessary death. It represented a further extension of APD’s pattern of using excessive force against people in crisis,” said Mark Fine, attorney at Fine Law Firm.

The fatal shooting happened after Martinez was chased down near the Cottonwood Mall in November while officers tried to arrest him for shoplifting. Martinez was armed with a handgun. He ran from a Kohls and was eventually stopped when officers cornered him by a nearby medical spa. During the confrontation, Martinez pointed the gun at his own head, while APD tried to talk him down.

Officer Angelo Lovato eventually shot and killed Martinez after APD said Martinez raised his gun. The family argues Martinez was diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder.

APD addressed the situation at a news conference in January where they spoke about three officer-involved shootings at the time. “These individuals retrieved a firearm, maintained the grip on that firearm as they continued to run away from officers. I think any citizen in this community who takes the emotions away from it will recognize that our officers have every right to feel that their lives are in danger,” said Albuquerque Police Chief, Harold Medina.

APD confirmed the investigation found the shooting was not in policy. They said the investigation is still ongoing. The officer who fired his gun, Angelo Lovato, was involved in one prior police shooting before this. According to APD, he is on military leave.