Albuquerque, NM – The Albuquerque Police Department has released bodycam footage of the June 16 officer-involved shooting of an armed robbery suspect outside of a Smith’s grocery store (video below).
Richard Rivera, 47, and his accomplice, Jennifer Rael, 39, had known each other for approximately six weeks prior to the incident, and have been accused of committing four robberies during that time, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
The duo allegedly held up two Albuquerque banks and a gas station before they robbed a Verizon store in on the northeast side of town, Albuquerque Police Lieutenant Ray Del Greco said during a June 28 press conference, according to KOB.
Rivera allegedly forced the Verizon customers to the rear portion of the store, racked his firearm, and demanded that they hand over their jewelry, phones, and money, Lt. Del Greco explained.
Using one of the cell phones stolen in the Verizon store robbery, officers tracked the suspects to a stolen U-Haul van located nearby, The Albuquerque Journal reported.
But Rivera had no intention of surrendering.
“It’s on,” he told Rael, just before he pulled a 9mm handgun from his waistband and then led officers on a pursuit, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
During the chase that ensued, Rivera fired so many rounds at police that Rael said she “couldn’t keep count,” Lt. Del Greco said.
He reloaded the gun at least once during the pursuit, the lieutenant added.
Officers used a spike strip to blow out one of the van’s front tires, and carried out three separate Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuvers in their attempts to bring the pursuit to an end, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
After one of the PIT maneuvers, Albuquerque Police Officer Jonathan O’Guin spotted Rivera pointing a gun at a police sergeant, so he fired at the U-Haul van six times, Lt. Del Greco explained.
Rivera sped away again, but was stopped by a third PIT maneuver near the Smith’s grocery store, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Officer O’Guin’s bodycam footage showed Rivera sprinting through the parking lot with the officer following close behind.
Witnesses said they heard Rivera say, “I have a gun! I have a gun!” Lt. Del Greco recounted.
“Stop!” Officer O’Guin yelled in the video. “Stop or you’re gonna get shot!”
As Rivera rushed towards the front entrance of the store, he reached towards his waistband, the video showed.
"He was afraid Mr. Rivera was going to either shoot him, an innocent bystander in the parking lot or someone inside the Smith's store," Lt. Del Greco said.
Officer O’Guin rapidly fired six rounds at Rivera, who immediately collapsed onto the pavement, the video showed.
Rivera then complied with the officers’ commands to show his hands, and they quickly rolled him onto his stomach and placed him into handcuffs.
Despite the officers’ attempts to revive him, Rivera died at the scene, KOB reported.
He sustained gunshot wounds to his back, legs, and buttocks, Lt. Del Greco said.
Officers found Rivera's weapon inside the van he had been driving.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, he had a lengthy criminal history that included multiple convictions for bank robbery and armed robbery.
Rael remained in the U-Haul van, which she rented on June 8 and never returned, and was arrested at the scene, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
She said that she and Rivera had been living together for approximately four weeks, and that she began using methamphetamine twice per day during that time.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Burkhead said that Rael was responsible for securing the getaway vehicle and for purchasing the weapon Rivera used during the robberies.
She is also accused of having conducted surveillance in at least one of the bank robbery locations to make sure there was no armed guard on duty.
Rael has been charged with aiding and abetting armed bank robbery and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
You can watch bodycam footage of the encounter in the video below. WARNING - Graphic Content: