2021 City Final Homicide Tally Shatters City’s Record Despite Keller and APD Initiatives Over Last 4 Years; Recalling 4 Police Officers Wounded In 2021

The final tally of murders in the city for 2021 is in and it shatters the previous 2019 record by 36 murders. The total number of homicides that occurred within the city limits was 117.

Following is the raw data breakdown:

Total Homicides: 117
Number of “justified homicides” excluded from total: 10
Per Capita Number: 20.8 per 100,000
Number of homicides Involving guns: 97
Number of cases solve or closed: 40
Number of case solved from previous years: 10
Oldest victim: 66
Youngest victim: 2

The link to quoted source material is here:


The first homicide of 2021 happened on January 8 and the last occurred on December 31. Not at all surprising is that it is believed that the dramatic increase in homicides and robberies is drug related.


Although the murder of anyone is shocking, of the 117 murders, 3 stood out.


The most shocking murders of the year occurred on March 5 when four dead bodies were found inside a car at the Albuquerque International Sunport. Forty-seven-year-old Sean Lannon was eventually charged with the murders which included that of his own wife. He was arrested shortly after police found he allegedly killed a man in New Jersey. Three of the victims were identified as Matthew Miller, Jennifer Lannon and Jesten Mata, with all 3 from Grants and with all 3 disappearing around the same time since January.

APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said at the time:

“Our detectives, I can say at this point, when they were out there in New Jersey did learn that Mr. Lannon claimed to killed an additional 11 people in the Grants and Cibola County area.”

According to Gallegos, Lannon claimed at a court hearing the 11 other New Mexicans he killed were drug dealers.



Another shocking murder occurred on August 13 at Washington Middle School when Bennie Hargrove, age 13, was shot and killed by a fellow classmate, Juan Saucedo J.R., after Hargrove reportedly confronted him about bullying his friends. Juan Saucedo Jr. is facing a first-degree murder charge, but because of his age, Saucedo Jr. cannot be legally tried as an adult and he will be tried in juvenile court. But because of the offense, he would be subject to adult or juvenile sanctions, depending on the sentencing judge, but only if he is found guilty.



A Halloween party turned deadly when a group of young thugs in hoodies and masks opened fire at the party killing two and wounding two others. Detectives with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department say a group of guys went to a party in Albuquerque and opened fire. When it was over, four people were shot and two of them died. Police body camera video released shows a deputy pulling up to the house on Pajarito Road where the party and shooting took place. A man was found in the front yard, not moving. Inside the house another man was found lying on the floor, not moving. A third gunshot victim was found still alive. In another room a fourth victim was found talking and breathing and he had a gunshot wound to the leg.



In 2021, there was another shooting incident that must be noted involving 4 APD police officers. But for the grace of God no APD Officer was killed but 4 were seriously injured and could have died protecting the community.

On Thursday, August 19, four Albuquerque Police Officers were injured following a shooting in northeast Albuquerque. The shooting happened as officers responded to a robbery by the Dutch Bros. near Mountain and Juan Tabo. Two suspects were taken into custody related to the incident. The first suspect was wounded and taken into custody shortly after the shooting unfolded. The first suspect was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) for medical treatment. APD announced via Twitter at 12:34 a second suspect was taken into custody. APD believe there are no other outstanding offenders however several others were detained in the process of the investigation.

According to news reports, APD Police charged by criminal complaint in Metro Court a person identified as James Ramirez, 27, of Los Angeles with three counts of aggravated battery against a police officer, armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a felon and resisting evading or obstructing an officer. Ramirez has no criminal history in New Mexico but, according to court records, is a convicted felon in California.

All 4 of the injured APD officers have each been with APD for more than 10 years. The 4 police officers are:

Officer Mario Verbeck: It was Verbeck who dispatched to the call. He was shot in the neck and arm. On Friday, August 20, he remained in critical condition at the University of New Mexico Hospital but was able to recover and released. Officer Verbeck is a a 17-year veteran with the department and joined the department in2004.

Officer James Eichel Jr.: Eichel was sent to assist Verbeck on the call. He was shot in the forearm and was hospitalized. He has been with APD since 2009.

Officer Harry Gunderson: He was struck in the eye by shrapnel. He has been with the department since 2004.

Sgt. Sean Kenny: He was shot in his bulletproof vest, sustained minor injuries and was released from the hospital. He has been with APD since 1999.

Links to related blog articles are here:




APD Police Chief Harold Medina said after a very violent year it is time the courts hold repeat violent offenders accountable, so they don’t continue to terrorize the streets and he had this to say:

“I think court leadership from the very bottom all the way to the top needs to listen to what the people in Albuquerque want. They want us to be tough on violent criminals, and they want violent criminals to stay in jail.”



On Monday, November 8, APD Chief Harold Medina held a remarkable press conference to discuss the then 101 homicides for the year. Medina said APD is undertaking many initiatives and programs to bring down homicides but many of the initiatives take time. According to Medina, APD is seeing high numbers of homicides related to parties, motels and road rage. Medina’s advice to the public to help stop the spike in homicides was simplistic:

1. He urged members of the public to take steps to protect themselves by not posting on social media if they’re having a party so uninvited guests don’t show up and start fights.

2. Not to honk at people who cut them off so as not to provoke a road rage incident.

3. Not to frequent certain motels in the middle of the night to buy or sell drugs.

Any police Chief who tells the public do not post a party on FACEBOOK, do not honk at people that may result in road rage, and do not to buy or sell your drugs at motels in the middle of the night as a solution to reducing homicides is a total embarrassment. Exactly what the hell was Medina thinking and what was Medina saying when he said:

“I mean, many times we’ve seen this; we have a rash.”

APD Chief Medina’s “rash” of homicides is more like a terminal crime cancer that Medina has been unable to deal with for the past 4 years working for Mayor Tim Keller.

The link to reported source material is here:



In 2018 there were 69 homicides the first full year of Mayor Keller’s term. 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 in 2017 when 72 homicides were reported. The previous high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides. The year 2020 ended with 76 homicides, the second-highest count since 1996. The decline dropped the homicide rate from 14.64 per 100,000 people in 2019 to about 13.5 in 2020. 2021 has now ended with the city shattering the all time record with 117 homicides in one year and a per capita murder rate of 20.8 per 100,000.


In 2019, Mayor Tim Keller reacting to the spiking violent crime rates, announced 4 programs in 9 months to deal with and bring down the city’s high violent crime rates . Those APD programs are: the Shield Unit, Declaring Violent Crime “public health” issue, the Metro 15 Operation, “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP Program). Based on the city’s historical 117 murders in 2021, all 4 programs can be described as failures as not having any real statistical impact on reducing crime.


On Thursday, September 23, Mayor Tim Keller concluded a series of meetings with law enforcement and community partners to address what all participants called the “broken criminal justice” system. The conference was dubbed the “Metro Crime Initiative.” It concluded with a news conference at the Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD) Real Time Crime Center to announce the results of the meetings. During the September 23 concluding press conference, local leaders admitted they have not been providing enough protection and resources to keep people safe. A list of 40 action items were revealed with the hope that once implemented they will lower Albuquerque’s crime efficiently and quickly. A link to a blog article listing the 40 action items is here:


The entire “Metro Crime Initiative” started with the phony proposition declared by Mayor Keller and all the participants that our criminal justice system is broken. It ended with a press conference with all the participants patting each other on the back for doing such a good job and asserting they have found the solution.

When you examine the “check list” of the 40 different proposals that were the result of the Metro Crime Initiative, the proposals are essentially what all the participants have been working on over the past 2 years and include many programs already announced and that are still failing. The list contains nothing new. The items listed are ones that the participants should have been doing in the first place. The 40 proposals are essentially an admission by many of the participants that they have not been doing their jobs effectively from the get go.


Now that Mayor Tim Keller has won a second four-year term, he probably is wondering exactly what the hell he has gotten himself into. It’s the very definition of insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over again and to expect a different outcome. Mayor Keller is still faced with fact that the city’s homicide rate has now broken the historical high 3 times during his first term.

After 4 years in office, Mayor Tim Keller under his leadership still has a police department that is failing miserably to police itself, that is in a catastrophic meltdown and unable to bring down our historically high homicide rates. Getting second chances to get it right are few and far between. Keller winning a second term is a second chance. The downside to winning a second term for Mayor Tim Keller is that nothing is going to change much for him over the next 4 years and neither is APD nor is our high murder rates, unless he does things differently and makes dramatic changes at APD.

The link to a related blog article is here:

Top Heavy APD High Command Staff Goes From 3 to 6 Deputies With 5 APD Insiders; New Level Of APD Bureaucracy Created With 16 “Deputy Commander” Positions; “Outsiders” Needed To “Effectuate Real Change”; 2 Sham National Searches For Chief; Sham Anticipated For “Superintendent of Police Reform”

This entry was posted in Opinions by . Bookmark the permalink.


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.