Family tells of fatal police shooting | Media Pyro


Crime scene investigators examine a wrecked car after Albuquerque police officers shot and killed the driver early Saturday morning. Julian Sanchez (21) died. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Julian Sanchez and a friend had been drinking and playing blackjack at a casino before driving home Saturday morning. At Tramway and Rover NE, south of Menoul, 21-year-old Sanchez crashed into the median and overturned a street sign.

According to Sanchez’s family, by the time police arrived, the two youths were unconscious.

A short time later, at least one officer saw a gun and fired, killing Sanchez, police say.

Now his family is speaking out, demanding more information about what happened and disputing the idea that Sanchez is a danger to police or anyone else.

Julian Sanchez, 21 (Courtesy of Desirea Sanchez)

“Everyone in our family is at a loss for words,” said his older sister Desirea Sanchez. “Julian, he’s not—because it’s not like him to be in a situation like this. This is neither right nor fair. Well, especially since we don’t really know what happened. He was a good kid … he didn’t do drugs, he didn’t hang out with the wrong crowd.

At a briefing Saturday morning at the Tramway, Chief Harold Medina said officers removed a passenger from the vehicle and were in the process of removing the driver when an officer “indicated that there was a gun in the area and that a shot could be fired.”

Rescue operations were carried out but Sanchez died.

A multi-agency task force is investigating the shooting as standard. An APD spokeswoman said questions about why officers believed Sanchez was a threat could not be answered because the investigation is in its preliminary stages. The Albuquerque Police Department typically holds a briefing and releases body camera video footage weeks after a shooting.

Desirea Sanchez said she had talked to her younger brother’s friend, but he told her his memories of how everything unfolded. She said Julian Sanchez always kept his gun — legally owned — in his center console for protection and knew the responsibilities of having a gun.

“I don’t know what happened when he got into the car accident — if it was removed,” she said. “His friend said his gun was in the console. So I don’t know if it was displaced whenever they hit the sign.

Desirea Sanchez said her brother’s friend said officers were holding him down on the ground and heard yelling “gun, gun, gun” followed by gunfire.

“When they took him back to the station he said he was just in and out of it…,” she said. “But they didn’t tell him until morning that Julian was dead.”

Julian Sanchez was the youngest of four and grew up in Albuquerque knowing to be wary of house parties and bad crowds, his sister said. She said their father got him a job at a food delivery company in West Central and he was about to start a new job at UPS. He has no criminal history in New Mexico, according to online court records.

“He’s somebody’s child, he’s somebody’s brother, he’s somebody’s baby. He was our baby…,” Desirea Sanchez said, adding that she had seen many hurtful comments on social media about the shooting. “It is one’s family, it is one’s blood. There is so much hate and we need to bring awareness that bad things happen to people. “

Over the weekend, Desiria Sanchez and her older brother came to Albuquerque from Kansas to be with family. On Monday, they erected a memorial at the site where Julian Sanchez was killed.

Julian Sanchez is the eighth person killed by Albuquerque police this year.

In all, officers fired at 16 people, wounded three and left five missing. One of the officers fired, but missed, and killed himself shortly before they could fire.


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