‘No one is above the law,’ New Mexico D.A. warns on anniversary of deadly ‘Rust’ shooting
The New Mexico District Attorney’s office issued an official warning against the unauthorized use of deadly force and the use of deadly force by police officers or others.
“I’ve made no secret of my support for the use of deadly force. And I fully support officers who must use that deadly force when they are required to do so,” District Attorney Corruption Trial Specialist Michael Villareal said in a press conference on Wednesday.
Villareal was referring to the shooting of Michael Anthony Williams, 34, who died after responding to a shooting call in Albuquerque Saturday.
While the use of deadly force by Albuquerque police officers is currently under investigation by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, District Attorney’s office investigators said in a press conference on Wednesday that they do not believe Williams was shot by officers.
Williams was an armed robber when he was shot in an attempted robbery in downtown Albuquerque in March.
No weapon was recovered. Williams was pronounced dead on the scene.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, the district attorney’s office and the police department are going to conduct a joint investigation of the shooting.
Villareal said the shooting could possibly lead to a criminal investigation by state and federal authorities because it was allegedly done by a non-law enforcement agency, and because it appeared Williams was being assaulted by another man when the shooting happened.
There are indications Williams may have had a gun on him when he was fatally shot.
The incident began when police responded to a reported shooting call at South Broadway and East 21st Street in Albuquerque.
When officers arrived, they found a man with a gun, who, according to police reports, began running and was chased by police, who eventually shot him in the back to stop him.
A weapon was recovered from the man, who was identified by police as Michael Williams.
When asked if he believes officers should be allowed to fire on suspects who are fleeing, Villareal said no.
“At the same time, we understand that police officers are often required to make split-second