Record Homicides for the Year 2022 Has Many Cases Still Not Solved
By: ABQ RAW Staff
POSTED: 1/2/2023 2:22PM
Albuquerque - The Albuquerque area has seen an unprecedented amount of violence in 2022 with the homicide rate close to 200 people. There have been some high profile homicides that rocked the city. Early in the year, a student was shot and killed just outside the West Mesa High School campus by another student. In March, a crazed unstable man fired a gun from his house at vehicles passing by killing a young woman just driving by. On Mother's Day, two teens were killed by a man at a Party City parking lot on the westside. Also mid summer, a beloved pizza shop owner was gunned down in a robbery outside his store at closing. One of the most viewed murder stories of 2022 was that of a retired firefighter turned church security guard who was gunned down in the Calvary Church parking lot.
In 2022, Albuquerque easily surpassed the 2021 homicide record by August with the 126th reported homicide of the year. The violence did not stop, and the city ended the year with 171 homicides for the year.
Various photos of homicide scenes in 2022.
ABQ RAW's policy is to count all homicides that have occurred in the city and Bernalillo County. Here is our data breaking down homicides happening in 2022:
For clarification purposes a homicide is defined as: the killing of one human being by another. It really is that simple. Once OMI rules a death a homicide it stays listed that way forever. The OMI is the ultimate decider statewide about all issues involving death.
Typically ABQRAW staff use the OMI's numbers since those are what they consider homicides.
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Murder on the other hand is defined as the "unlawful" taking of a life by another. These are obviously the cases where someone just shoots stabs or bludgeons someone to death in anger. There are too many ways to kill a person to list but those are all usually considered murders.
Vehicular homicide is another category that legal experts can charge if a vehicle is used in a death however just like the others examples the OMI doesn't classify these as anything other than "homicide". Eventually the DA's office will change the name from homicide to justified homicide, or vehicular homicide for example when they eventually get the case.
For legal purposes the DA's office can deem a homicide "justified" if a certain criteria is met.
30-2-7. Justifiable homicide by citizen.
Homicide is justifiable when committed by any person in any of the following cases:
A. when committed in the necessary defense of his life, his family or his property, or in necessarily defending against any unlawful action directed against himself, his wife or family;
B. when committed in the lawful defense of himself or of another and when there is a reasonable ground to believe a design exists to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury against such person or another, and there is imminent danger that the design will be accomplished; or
C. when necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and means, to apprehend any person for any felony committed in his presence, or in lawfully suppressing any riot, or in necessarily and lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.
History: 1953 Comp., § 40A-2-8, enacted by Laws 1963, ch. 303, § 2-8
There is also a section dedicated to a law enforcement "justifiable" homicide.
30-2-6. Justifiable homicide by public officer or public employee.
A. Homicide is justifiable when committed by a public officer or public employee or those acting by their command and in their aid and assistance:
(1) in obedience to any judgment of a competent court;
(2) when necessarily committed in overcoming actual resistance to the execution of some legal process or to the discharge of any other legal duty;
(3) when necessarily committed in retaking felons who have been rescued or who have escaped or when necessarily committed in arresting felons fleeing from justice; or
(4) when necessarily committed in order to prevent the escape of a felon from any place of lawful custody or confinement.
B. For the purposes of this section, homicide is necessarily committed when a public officer or public employee has probable cause to believe he or another is threatened with serious harm or deadly force while performing those lawful duties described in this section. Whenever feasible, a public officer or employee should give warning prior to using deadly force.
With that being said here is our breakdown "justified" homicides in the ABQ Metro:
Law Enforcement Homicides:
3 - Bernalillo County Sheriff Office (all 3 cases were a result of a deputy involved shooting)
1 - US Marshals Service (this was a federally sworn officer shooting and killing a man)
13 - Albuquerque Police Department (10 were officer involved shootings and 3 were in custody deaths)
Civilian Justified Homicides:
4 homicides have been the result of a civilian defending themselves during a criminal act being committed towards them.
It is difficult to have a real time record of homicides that are ultimately deemed "justified" however these cases are complicated and sometimes take months to decide if the case will be a justified homicide or a murder.
Murder cases investigated by agency and the clearance rate of the cases:
135 Albuquerque Police have investigated. 74 have resulted in an arrest or identifying a suspect. A clearance rate of 55%
(Note Albuquerque Police touts a 90% plus clearance rate. The department is including murder suspect arrests that happened in past year cases.)
Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office has investigated 19 murders and has cleared 6 cases.
A clearance rate of 31%.
Editor's Note: In 2022, ABQ RAW has kept a record of all homicides that have been committed in the Albuquerque area through law enforcement notifications, tips, and public record requests to the Office of the Medical Investigator. These numbers might increase with more records being released to us from the OMI.