ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Three Albuquerque police officers were shot and another was injured while responding to a robbery, authorities said Thursday.
Police Chief Harold Medina said one of the officers was hit in the chest above his bulletproof vest and was listed in critical condition. One officer was shot in the arm and another was saved when he was struck in the vest. The fourth officer was injured by shrapnel or glass.
Multiple people have been detained and police were still looking for at least one more suspect, Medina said.
Authorities closed surrounding roads and nearby schools were put on lockdown as officers swarmed an area near a coffee shop in a commercial district on the city's northeast side. Police confirmed early on that they were responding to a “critical incident" and described the scene as active as they scoured the neighborhood for the outstanding suspect.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller called it a horrible scene and asked for residents to pull together for the officers and their families.
“These officers put their lives at risk every single call and their families never want to get the calls they're getting today,” he said. “We're asking all of the community to have their back."
Police vehicles also lined the road near University of New Mexico Hospital, where the injured officers were taken. Medina said two of the officers were undergoing surgery.
The city has been struggling with a record number of homicides this year, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham just this week announced she would be reassigning more state police officers to New Mexico’s largest city in an effort to ease some of the burden.
Republican lawmakers have asked for the Democratic governor to call a special legislative session to address what they have described as a public emergency, saying the state needs tougher criminal statutes and that repeat offenders need to remain behind bars.
Albuquerque officials acknowledged recent tragedies, including a school shooting last week that left a 13-year-old student dead. The police chief also noted that it was nearly 16 years ago to the day that the city lost two veteran police officers in a deadly shooting rampage committed by a man with a mental illness.
“It's a very emotional time,” Medina said.
Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press