APD releases video of officer shooting on Central

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Newly-released lapel cam video shows the moments when APD Officer Brian Pitzer fired eight times at Joaquin Ortega, a man who had just tossed his gun.

Police were looking for Ortega on Oct. 28. He had crashed into a light pole at Central and Washington, then allegedly robbed a 76-year-old woman and her grandson. Then police say he pulled a gun on someone else, demanding a ride.

His girlfriend later told police Ortega had been snorting Xanax and drinking before he got into his silver Honda Civic.

Less than 30-seconds after finding him, Pitzer shouted orders.

“Let me see your hands bro! Let me see your hands!” he shouts in the video.

Ortega started running and somewhere near the muffler shop, tossed his gun.

Pitzer fired a total of eight rounds.

Attorney Rachel Higgins – who represents a man Pitzer shot at in a different incident – questions why Pitzer fired.

“Mr. Pitzer knew there was no weapon in play, and proceeded to shoot Mr. Ortega six times as Mr. Ortega ran away from him,” she said.

Days after the shooting, APD Interim Chief Allen Banks said, “The officer perceived a threat to himself and perceived a threat to the community, so he took the actions that he felt necessary at the time.”

Banks also said Ortega never fired on Pitzer – despite witness statements in the criminal complaint.

Pitzer has been in the news before. He has two federal lawsuits pending against him.

The city recently settled a third lawsuit with a man who said Pitzer and another officer kicked him in the face for $60,000.

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