ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque police officer who fatally shot a man two months ago during a domestic dispute call had shot three other people in earlier incidents.
Police Chief Harold Medina said told the Albuquerque Journal that Officer Bryce Willsey asked to be temporarily taken out of the field after the April 16 call in which the officer fatally shot 51-year-old Juan James Cordova.
Willsey, who has been as an Albuquerque officer since 2015, was one of four officers who shot Daniel Saavedra-Arreola in an empty apartment building in January 2018 when he jumped out of the closet, swinging a metal pipe and knife.
He was one of five officers who shot Jason Scott Perez in December 2019 after Perez was spotted in a car with a stolen license plate and fired a gun inside the car.
And Willsey was one of two officers who shot Orlando Abeyta in January 2020 after Abeyta pointed a BB gun that resembled a real gun at people at a bus stop and at officers.
All three men were killed.
Attorney John D’Amato, a police union lawyer who is representing Willsey, said officers don’t go out looking to shoot people.
“Police officers don’t create the action, they react to the suspect’s actions,” D’Amato said. “And when deadly force or a threat to others or themselves is apparent the policies require they use deadly force to stop that action.”
Medina said it’s always concerning when an officer has been involved in multiple shootings, both because of the “optics to the public” and because of the effects it could have on an officer’s mental health.
Police were called to Cordova’s house after his girlfriend told authorities that Cordova had fired a weapon in their home. While in his driveway, authorities say Cordova pointed a gun at officers and fired a shot, though investigators don’t know if it was aimed at police.
A video shows Cordova making a reference to his handgun about 10 minutes later. He waved what looks like a gun toward the sky, the horizon and the ground, yelling “Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!” That’s when Willsey fatally shot Cordova.
Investigators are combing through videos and conducting interviews about what transpired.