ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The family of an Albuquerque teen who was killed in a shootout at a northeast skate park is now demanding Albuquerque police make an arrest in a case they call “unjustified homicide.”
The family of Jaquise Lewis says newly released witness cell phone video shows that Lewis was murdered at the Los Altos Skate Park near Lomas and Wyoming in March 2015. Lewis’ mother, Munah Green won a lawsuit in early December that forced Albuquerque Police to release the video.
“That was my point in making sure the video was being released, (so) everybody can see the truth,” said Green.
Attorneys for the family of Lewis gave a play-by-play analysis of the video at a press conference Tuesday, saying they believe the video clearly shows that the case is not a matter of self-defense, contrary to what Albuquerque Police are continuing to call the case, so far.
“The facts is its not self defense, a person is getting shot in the back twice and walking away,” said Green, speaking of the video.
Jaquise Lewis was among seven people who were shot at Los Altos Skate Park on the night of Sunday, March 22nd, 2015. Albuquerque Police say a fist fight turned into a shoot-out after two groups began arguing over accusations of a stolen skateboard. Lewis was killed, six other people were wounded, one of whom was paralyzed according to APD.
About halfway into the witness video, a man can be seen shooting Lewis in the back as Lewis is walking, then running away. APD says Lewis had a gun when he was shot.
“The facts is its not self defense, a person is getting shot in the back twice and walking away,” said Green.
At Tuesday’s press conference, attorney for Munah Green, Ahmad Assed demanded the shooter’s arrest. APD contends that the man, who they’ve identified, acted in self-defense.
“The shooter should be arrested and charged with homicide, at the very least, this is a question that should be properly placed before a jury,” said Assed.
“(Jaquise) was gunned down and killed and shot in the back and that’s what this case is about, and that’s why Kari Brandenburg needs to look at this case,” said Assed.
While Albuquerque Police say the case is still under investigation, the department says it has not change its determination that Lewis was shot in self-defense. The department first made public statements about their determinations during a may 2015 press conference.
“We’ve come to the conclusion at this point that Jaquise Lewis was shot in self-defense, could those circumstances change? Possibly, but we need information to make those circumstances change,” said Albuquerque Police spokesman Tanner Tixier during a May 2015 press conference.
The newly released witness video shows Lewis’ actions throughout a fight subsequent shooting at the skate park. At one point, Lewis can be seen in the background appearing to him run toward a group of two people, then grab something and lunge towards a crowd while pointing his arm out. Gunshots are heard shortly after Lewis disappears behind the crowd.
“And that’s exactly what we saw as well,” said Assed.
However, Assed said the video still does not answer the question as to whether or not Jaquise Lewis had a gun the night of the shooting.
Assed says what is clear is that Lewis was shot while he was running away.
Shortly before Lewis was shot, the witness video shows Lewis walking toward the camera and a group of people while waving his arms in the air. APD says Lewis had a gun at that moment. Seconds later, the video shows Lewis walk away from the crowd as a man fires eight shots at Lewis.
“It basically proves that my son, you know, was murdered to me, you know it wasn’t self defense,” said Green.
So far, APD says all of the evidence they have points to self-defense. APD says that could change if more evidence emerges, but so far, nothing has.
Lewis’ mother disagrees.
“I feel like it wasn’t right because (APD) just judged it too soon instead of just taking a look at the facts and that’s how they’ve been doing it since day one,” said Green.
“The bottom line from our perspective is, this isn’t self-defense, this isn’t a homicide, this isn’t justifiable homicide, this is nowhere near that,” said Assed, Green’s attorney.
APD provided a statement Tuesday in response to the claims made by Green and her attorney. The department says in part that it is still investigating and has yet to hand over the entire case to District Attorney Kari Brandenburg’s office. However, they say that case file is nearly complete.
The department says while it hasn’t changed its “self-defense” stance, APD says ultimately, DA Brandenburg’s office will make the final determination as to whether or not charges should be filed against anyone in the video.
The Lewis’ family says it will push for the DA’s office to charge the young man who killed Lewis.
APD’s full statement:
“APD will continue to interview all willing witnesses, follow every lead and to pursue justice for all seven people who were shot in this case. Preliminary findings are based on the current witness statements, forensic evidence, video and conscientious police work. We will turn our investigation over to the District Attorney’s Office who will ultimately determine what charges, if any, are filed.”
–Celina Espinoza, spokeswoman, Albuquerque Police Department.
EDITORS NOTE: News 13 has chosen to upload an edited, extended clip of the skate park shooting video. The video shows approximately the first two minutes of what was recorded. As Albuquerque Police have not charged anyone in this case, News 13 has chosen to blur everyone in the video expect for Jaquise Lewis, who was killed. Audio in the following clip remains unredacted.
Extended Video Clip of Shooting: