Two Police Shootings Within 5 Hours, 3 Homicides Within 24 Hours; City Again On Track To Breaking Homicide Record

Albuquerque’s long hot summer of violent crime continues as the body count continues to rise along with the hot temperatures. Within the span of 5 days, there were 2 police officer involved shootings and 3 homicides, with a total of 5 dead. This blog article is a discussion of all 5 shootings with Commentary and Analysis.


The two police shootings are the fifth and sixth by the Albuquerque Police Department so far this year. The Multi Agency Task Force is investigating both shootings. The two previous officer involved shootings that were the shooting of Orlando Abeyta, who police say was waving what turned out to be a BB gun at an East Central bus stop, and Valente Acosta-Bustillos, who police said swung a shovel at them during a welfare check that turned into an arrest.

Links to news coverage are here:


During a five hour period between Monday night, August 10, and early Tuesday morning, August 11, Albuquerque police officers shot and killed two men in separate incidents.

The first incident began around 8 p.m. with a neighbor dispute in a West Side neighborhood near Taylor Ranch. Police identified the man who was killed as 48-year-old Jose Vallejos. Residents of a quiet West Side neighborhood near Taylor Ranch reported that two men who lived next to each had been fighting for years. On Monday night, around 8:15 pm, officers were sent to the area because a caller said his neighbor had pointed a firearm at him.

Deputy Chief Harold Medina in a news conference at the scene shortly before midnight said officers arrived on scene and there was some kind of altercation. According to Medina, at least 3 officers were on scene with shots fired but he did not know how many fired shots. At least one APD officer fired a gun and Vallejos was struck at least once. Vallejos died on scene and a firearm was located nearby. Medina said:

“Officers were given the information that one of the neighbors was armed with a firearm and to compound the problem there was a young child that was positioned between the two feuding neighbors. … It’s unknown if anyone else fired any type of firearm.”

Medina did not know how old the child was or what relationship they had to those involved in the fight. The child was talking on the phone with 911 during the incident and was not hurt.


The second police officer involved shooting occurred around 1 a.m. on August 11 following a call out about a home invasion in a University-area neighborhood of Southeast Albuquerque at the 2700 block of Garfield, near Vassar SE. According to Deputy Chief Harold Medina, a homeowner called 911 and told the dispatcher that he had opened fire on multiple people after they broke into his home. When officers arrived, they found a man a few houses away and the man fired at police. Median said at least one officer shot back, hitting him. No officers were injured. The man was taken to the hospital, where he died.

APD has identified the police killed near the University of New Mexico as 50-year-old Kenneth Reiss, the same individual who called police about a home invasion. Ken Reiss was part-owner at Carraro’s & Joe’s Place located in the UNM area. Reiss has no known criminal history outside of a few traffic violations and was extremely well liked by his neighbors and patrons of his restaurant.

Kat Schroeder, a longtime friend of Reiss, said Reiss was not the kind of person to shoot at police and said:

“I’ve never known him to carry a gun. We had lengthy conversations about violence and society and police – he was not a violent person, and would not jump to violence in any situation. I watched him handle violent situations with a cool head.”


According to APD, when officers arrived at the scene, Reiss fled and officers chased him and that is when they say the Reiss shot at them. The officers then fired back. Reiss was taken to the hospital where he later died. According to news reports, Police say Reiss fired at officers before they shot back and that nobody else was found in the area. However, neighbors say they heard a man and woman yelling “get out of here” before gunfire rang out, two shots at first and then numerous shots that followed 10 minutes later when APD arrived.

Linda Johnson, a neighbor, said she saw Reiss right before officers arrived. She said Reiss was holding a gun at the time and appeared very distressed and out of sorts. Johnson said:

“He saw people coming down the street and I think his adrenaline was going, he was so terrified, he was delusional or didn’t see that they were the police because why would you call the police and then run away with a gun in your hand.”

Johnson and other neighbors confirmed what police said in their initial report that Reiss shot at police first before they opened fire.

Joshua Rodgers, who lives across the street from where Reiss was killed, said his doorbell camera caught the entire interaction. Rodgers claims that in the video, you can see Reiss hide behind a vehicle moments before officers’ approach on foot. As the officers move past the vehicle, they spot Reiss behind it and all point their guns, saying “show us your hands” but never identifying themselves as police.

Rodgers had this to say:

“He wasn’t being aggressive; he was just cowering. … I don’t fully believe he knew they were cops. I think he was just confused.”

Rodgers said police opened fire and then, as Reiss can be heard screaming, police yell “drop it” repeatedly. “Then four more shots – and no more screaming,” Rodgers said.


On August 15, the Albuquerque Journal reported that a search warrant affidavit was left by APD in the home of Kenneth Reiss on Reiss’ couch. Leaving a copy of the search warrant and affidavit at a place searched is standard operating procedure when no is at the property to be searched. The affidavit was found by friends who went to his home after he didn’t show up to work. The police affidavit, ostensibly sworn to under oath, lays out the police account of the events.

According to the search warrant:

“Reiss called 911 around 12:30 a.m. and said two people broke into his home in the 2700 block of Garfield SE, near Girard, and he had shot them both.

The caller, [identified as Ken Reiss] told dispatch that he still [had] his gun in his hand, and that there had been a fight over the previous weekend over a woman. … Ken advised dispatch that the woman was still in his house.”

The dispatcher then could hear Reiss talking to someone saying “by the car, get down” and “get behind the car right now, don’t worry about that.”

Around that time other 911 calls began rolling in, neighbors reporting hearing a man and woman yelling between the sound of gunshots.

Within minutes, an officer arrived and said someone was running south on Princeton from Garfield and someone was fleeing “who was bleeding and firing shots.

When officers arrived, they didn’t know who was firing. They saw Reiss running – and believed he was one of the “described persons who were breaking into the caller’s house.”

Additional shots were fired by this male subject toward officers. In response to being shot at, the officers returned fire. … Reiss was taken to the hospital where he died.”

At the time of the execution of the search warrant, APD found no one inside Reiss’ home and no one was found injured in the area, but there were bullet holes in the door, window and casings outside the home.

The links to Journal news stories are here:


On Friday, August 14, three people were killed in Albuquerque in separate incidents over a 24-hour period with a fourth person fighting for his life .

Fire Arm Murder

A woman arrived at a fire station in northeast Albuquerque with a man who had been shot. Police said the man died as a result of his injuries and they are now investigating the incident as a homicide. The Albuquerque Police Department cleared the scene a little after 5 a.m. but they spent hours outside AFR Station #5, near Central and Pennsylvania. Police said the woman drove the man to the station overnight, and they are still trying to determine where the shooting happened. Police said there is no suspect information to release at this time.

Second Gunshot Victim In Critcal Condition

A second gunshot incident occurred around 10 p.m. where a man was shot on the 7800 block of East Central. Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Daren DeAguero said the man was transported to University of New Mexico Hospital, where he was in critical condition. In a news release late Friday, APD reported that no suspect was in custody in that incident.

Stabbing Murders

At about 7 p.m APD responded to a domestic dispute at the Chelsea Village apartments near Louisiana and Montgomery NE. Police found a man and woman with stab wounds at an apartment. The woman died at UNMH and the man is in critical condition from the stabbing. According to APD Spokesman Sgt. Tanner Tixier:

“Initial dispatch information stated that a female had shown up to the AFR Station with a wounded male victim in her vehicle. … That male victim eventually died as a result of his injuries.”

APD has not released the names or ages of any of the victims, nor have they released suspect information.


On Thursday, July 2, 2020 APD officials held a press conference to release the Albuquerque crime statistics for 2019. A synopsis of the homicide statics during Mayor Tim Keller’s tenure is as follows:


In 2018, during Mayor Keller’s first full year in office, there were 69 homicides.

In 2019, during Mayor Keller’s second full year in office, there were 82 homicides. Albuquerque had more homicides in 2019 than in any other year in the city’s history. The previous high was 72, in 2017 under Mayor RJ Berry. Another high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides.,high%20was%2072%2C%20in%202017.

With the 3 reported homicides on August 14, there have been 45 homicides reported in Albuquerque for 2020.


For the past two years during Mayor Keller’s tenure, the homicide clearance percentage rate has been in the 50%-60% range. According to the proposed 2018-2019 APD City Budget, in 2016 the APD homicide clearance rate was 80%. In 2017, under Mayor Berry the clearance rate was 70%. In 2018, the first year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 56%. In 2019, the second year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 52.5%, the lowest clearance rate in the last decade.


In 2017, during Mayor RJ Berry’s last full year in office, there were 7,686 VIOLENT CRIMES. There were 4,213 Aggravated Assaults and 470 Non-Fatal Shootings.

In 2018 during Mayor Keller’ first full year in office, there were 6,789 violent crimes There were 3,885 Aggravated Assaults and 491 Non-Fatal Shootings.

In 2019, the category of “Violent Crimes” was replaced with the category of “Crimes Against Persons” and the category includes homicide, human trafficking, kidnapping and assault.

In 2019 during Keller’s second full year in office, Crimes Against Persons increased from 14,845 to 14,971, or a 1% increase. The Crimes Against Person category had the biggest rises in Aggravated Assaults increasing from 5,179 to 5,397.


Homicide rates do not include in the count criminal suspects who are shot at killed by police in the line of duty. Nonetheless, the number of police officer involved shootings resulting in death is a reflection violence in the community and how it may be dealt with by a law enforcement community. Following is a break down for the last 5 years and do date for 2020:

2013: 9
2014: 6
2015: 1
2016: 1
2017: 0
2018: 0
2019: 4
2020: 4 (As of August 18)

A list of names and years since 2007 is here:


The “Citizen Satisfaction Survey” is a research study commissioned by the City of Albuquerque to assess residents’ perceptions of the overall quality of life in Albuquerque, satisfaction with City services, and issues relating to crime, safety, and the economy. On January 21, the City of Albuquerque released the results of the 2019 study. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4% points and the poll was conducted by Research & Polling Inc.

The results of the Public Perception Survey conducted by Research and Polling released in January, 2020 are as follows:

83% of those surveyed said more police officers are needed to make the city safer.
73% of residents surveyed said they felt that crime has had “a negative or very negative impact” on business in Albuquerque.
67% of those surveyed believe that crime rates in Albuquerque are getting worse.
66%, or two thirds, of residents surveyed say crime has had a negative impact on their quality of life.
28% of those surveyed said police officers needed additional oversight, rules and reforms.
27% of those surveyed believe that crime rated in Albuquerque is about the same.


The police officer shooting of Kenneth Reiss is the most troubling of all the 5 fatalities. This is not the first time the city has seen APD dispatched to respond to a call for help at a residence and those who are seeking or needing help wind up being shot by police. Police have every right to defend themselves and use deadly force whenever they believe they are facing and immediate danger of great bodily harm to themselves or others.

What makes the Reiss shooting troubling is what is contained in the affidavit for search warrant when it says:

“Reiss called 911 around 12:30 a.m. and said two people broke into his home in the 2700 block of Garfield SE, near Girard, and he had shot them both.

The caller, [identified as Ken Reiss] told dispatch that he still [had] his gun in his hand, and that there had been a fight over the previous weekend over a woman. … Ken advised dispatch that the woman was still in his house.”

Based upon the accounts of what happened, the 911 call made by Reiss was clearly a Priority 1 call which means that there was an immediate threat of great bodily injury or death and APD . APD in fact arrived at the residence within minutes.

What needs to be determined is if the 911 dispatcher made any effort to order or direct that Ken Reiss and the unidentified woman to stay in the home and what efforts were made by the dispatcher to calm Reiss down. No doubt the 911 called was taped and it will reveal far more than what is in the affidavit. Instead, Reiss took it upon himself to leave the home assuming the risk to his own life and perhaps the life of the unidentified woman.


With 3 more murders recorded on August 14 with a total of 45 murders thus far for 2020, the city is on track to match or exceed the all-time record of 80 homicides in one year or come very close to it by the end of the year. Currently, APD has 950 sworn police or 250 short of what was promised by Mayor Keller. Keller’s 4 violent crime initiatives appear to have had very little impact on reducing violent crime.

Voters are very fickle and unforgiving when politicians make promises they do not or cannot keep. When 73% of residents surveyed said they felt that crime has had “a negative or very negative impact” on business in Albuquerque, 67% of ABQ residents think crime is getting worse, 66%, or two thirds, of residents surveyed say crime has had a negative impact on their quality of life, it is an assured bet that no amount of data collection, public relations or nuance programs are going to turn public perception around any time soon.

Mayor Tim Keller has already made it known he intends to seek a second 4-year term in 2020. As has been the case in the last 3 elections for Mayor, in 2021 crime rates will likely be the biggest determining issue in the race. Voters will no doubt decide if Mayor Tim Keller has in fact failed to deliver on his campaign promises to reduce high crime rates. Voters will be deciding if Keller deserves another 4 years with Mayor Keller no doubt using the Covid 19 epidemic as an excuse for his need for another 4 years to finish what he started.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.