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06-2022

New Mexico community protests after SWAT standoff ends with death of black teen

Demonstrators protest police violence in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after a black teenager was killed in a SWAT standoff that ended in a house fire.

Albuquerque police said they called in a SWAT team after 27-year-old Qiaunt Kelley, a suspect wanted on a felony warrant, barricaded himself in a home Wednesday, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The SWAT team used an unknown number of tear gas canisters and “powder-based chemical rounds” on the home before officers detected smoke inside, according to Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina.

Medina added that the officers did not fire weapons during the confrontation.

A fire broke out in the house and the suspect was arrested after leaving the house, police said.

Fire crews and police later discovered the boy, who was not identified by authorities but is believed to be around 14 years old, dead at the home. Authorities are investigating the cause of his death.

Police said they believe the teen went to the house with the suspect.

The death and questions about whether ammunition started the fire have sparked protests in the city, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Elizabeth Fields, who told the Albuquerque Journal that her sister Sundra Coleman owns the home, said two men were visiting Coleman’s son when a SWAT team arrived “with guns drawn” and handcuffed their relatives outside. his house, according to the newspaper.

“And then they started taking down the windows, they started taking down the doors, they had a machine that ripped the tree apart, and then they started throwing gas bombs in there,” Fields said.

A resident of the home, who Source New Mexico identified as Deja, said the family is now unsure where they will live.

She said the family told police about the teen in the home and “they left him to die and burn.”

An investigation is underway to determine if “an ammunition” is related to the fire that broke out in the house, according to Medina.

The Albuquerque Fire Rescue Arson Unit is assisting in the police investigation.

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