ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Just hours after hundreds took to the streets to protest Albuquerque police fatally shooting a homeless camper, the embattled Albuquerque Police Department announced Wednesday that officers shot and killed a man with a gun who opened fire on authorities.
But the family of the man says he was not armed and only had a cellphone in his hand.
The suspect was shot late Tuesday outside a public housing complex after a 911 call about a man pointing a gun at a juvenile, Albuquerque Chief Gorden Eden told reporters.
Eden said the man "exited an apartment with a firearm and fired a firearm" before officers returned fire.
The suspect, whose name had not been officially released, died Wednesday morning at a hospital, Albuquerque police spokesman Tasia Martinez said.
The family of the suspect identified him as Alfred "Lionel" Redwine, 30, a roofer and tattoo artist.
"He did not have a gun. He only had a cellphone," said the man's sister, Tammy Redwine, 34. "I know because I was talking to him and telling him to come out and talk to the police."
Her brother was with her two sons, 10 and 13, she said.
Ernie Garcia, 43, Tammy Redwine's boyfriend, said before police arrived, the 30-year-old had gotten into a dispute with neighbors who were partying next to his mother's vehicle. When police arrived, Redwine didn't come out "because he was scared of police," Garcia said.
"He's had his problem with the law," Garcia said.
Albuquerque police have not responded to phone messages and emails about the family's version of events.
The troubled department is facing heavy criticism for 36 other police shootings since 2010, including the fatal shooting of a homeless man earlier this month in the Sandia foothills.
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King announced Wednesday his office has launched an investigation into both of the fatal shootings this month to provide "an objective unbiased external assessment."
In the foothills shooting, authorities said James Boyd, 38, died after officers fired stun guns, bean bags and six live rounds on March 16. Police said Boyd had threatened to kill officers and held onto knives as an unarmed K-9 officer approached him.
But a helmet camera video showed Boyd gathering his belongings then turning away right before officers fired. The shooting followed a long standoff during which Boyd claimed he was a federal government agent.
A protest Tuesday evening in downtown Albuquerque drew a crowd from around the city and Santa Fe. Some chanted "We want justice," while others held signs that read "APD is guilty" as they marched for a few blocks to police headquarters. The demonstrators filled the streets, blocking traffic as they went.
Albuquerque police are under a U.S. Justice Department investigation involving the use of force, and Mayor Richard Berry asked Justice Department officials to add the Boyd shooting to its ongoing probe.
In addition, Berry has asked the Las Cruces Police Department to join a five-agency investigation into the shooting.
Justice Department officials also meet privately Wednesday with community activists to discuss Boyd's shooting.
King said his office was "willing to collaborate with the federal authorities in any review they conduct."
The family of the man in the latest shooting said they are planning a candle-light vigil Wednesday night at site of the shooting.
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