ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Bernalillo County Sheriff’s officials say six deputies who fatally fired on a suspect last month mistook his flashlight for a gun.
Chief Deputy Nicholas Huffmyer shared video from the shooting of 45-year-old Colby Atkins during a news conference Monday.
Deputies responded shortly before 1:30 p.m. Sept. 20 to a crash when someone informed them a man was passed out in a car parked at a gas station.
The officers say they surrounded the car and tried to wake Atkins up. He drove away two minutes after being roused, according to police dash camera video.
Authorities say Atkins then ran a red light, hit two cars and drove up on the sidewalk at one point. Huffmyer says the suspect was endangering the public at this point.
According to deputies, Atkins crashed and was stuck. The video shows he got in and out of the car for 10 minutes but ignored commands from law enforcement. Attempts to break the car windows by shooting bean bags failed.
Atkins then appears to point a weapon. In the video one deputy can be heard yelling “he’s got a gun.” That is when all the deputies shot at him.
Atkins was pronounced dead at the scene. It was also revealed the car was stolen.
It’s the third fatal shooting involving Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies this year.
Meanwhile, a toxicology report on Atkins is pending.