RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – New details have been released about what led up to Rio Rancho Police shooting and killing a 71-year-old man following a chase last month.
According to police, the incident at the Walmart on Unser that started it all was an attempted kidnapping. They say Henry Rivera Sr. was seen pulling a woman from her car in the parking lot at gunpoint and tried to force her into his truck. That’s when the two struggled and shots were fired before she got away.
“We don’t have any specific information that there is an existing relationship between them. So at this time we are aware that it may have been random, but that’s part of the investigation to confirm the details,” Rio Rancho Police Captain Ron Vigil said.
Near the Walmart, police say they spotted his truck. A chase ensued but was called off for safety reasons.
Officers went to the address linked to the license plate, and say they saw Rivera changing out the license plate. Rivera then got into the truck and nearly ran over officers, flashing a handgun at them as he drove off.
Another pursuit began, which took Rio Rancho Police into Albuquerque, to a cul-de-sac near Unser and Irving.
There, police say Rivera rammed into both a neighbor’s car and an officer’s car, trying to get away. Then he pulled a shotgun on police, and officers fired back.
“We want to understand why people take the actions that they do, especially when it results in someone’s death. So that’s part of the investigation to understand perhaps the mindset in this case of the offender,” Captain Vigil said.
Police say according to family, Rivera’s behavior had drastically changed in recent months.
The two officers involved have been identified as Jacqulynn Reedy and Lawrence Smith. Both were put on standard paid leave, but are now back on the streets.
Police say the officers do not have lapel video of the shooting, but did not say if the officers turned their cameras on.