ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A police officer’s gun accidentally went off as he crept through a broken window during an Albuquerque burglary investigation, wounding a man in an apartment below, officials said Monday.
Police emphasized the shooting was accidental, but it occurred in an agency under intense scrutiny for a series of shootings over the past several years.
The latest incident happened early Sunday while police were investigating a break-in at a second-floor apartment, Albuquerque Police spokesman Simon Drobik said.
The officer involved was climbing through one of the unit’s windows when his gun accidentally went off, though authorities wouldn’t say why.
The stray bullet shot through the floor and into the apartment below, where it struck a man in the back, Drobik said.
Officers said they found the injured man on his couch complaining of pain. He was hospitalized in stable condition at University of New Mexico Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, Drobik said.
“I want to emphasize this was an accidental shooting,” Drobik said. “The officer involved in this is just torn up.”
Drobik said the shooting occurred after officers took another man into custody.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave, officials said. No names were released and no other injuries reported.
The shooting comes after Albuquerque officials recently signed an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department following a harsh report over police use of excess force.
Albuquerque police have faced scrutiny for more than 40 officer shootings since 2010.
So far this year, there have been seven police shootings - six fatal.
Before Sunday, officers had not shot anyone since July, when 33-year-old Jeremy Robertson was killed by two officers during a foot chase from a gas station.
Albuquerque police said agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were seeking to take Robertson into custody when he fled. Robertson pulled a handgun from his waist before he was shot, authorities said.
According to court records, Robertson had two outstanding warrants on probation violations connected to charges of receiving and transferring stolen vehicles.
The city is planning a series of community meetings next year to help develop an action plan for police reforms.
NAACP Albuquerque president Harold Bailey said Monday he was still working to put together a team to organize the community engagement forums.
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