Written by Officer Ray Wilson 04/30/2022 updated 5/12/2022
This update identifies the officer involved and provides additional details that led up to the shooting and provides charges for the shooting suspect.
Albuquerque, NM- On Friday, April 29, 2022, the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was contacted to investigate an officer-involved shooting involving an off-duty New Mexico State Police officer.
New Mexico State Police agents learned that at around 8:30 p.m., the Albuquerque Police Department responded to a shots fired call at Cabela’s sporting goods store located at 5151 Lang Avenue in Albuquerque, NM.
Gabriel Velasquez, 18, of Albuquerque, attempted to shoplift several boxes of 9-millimeter ammunition. The store manager attempted to stop Velasquez and confronted him. As the store manager escorted Velasquez out of the store, Velasquez brandished a firearm from his waistband and pointed the firearm toward the manager and several employees. Off-duty New Mexico State Police Tactical Team Officer Robert Archuleta, who was in the store, observed the altercation and asked the store manager if Velasquez had pointed the firearm toward any civilians. The manager told Officer Archuleta yes
Officer Archuleta followed Velasquez, who was armed with a firearm, out of the store. Velasquez walked to a silver Infinity that was parked in a handicap parking stall in front of the store. Officer Archuleta identified himself as a State Police officer and told Velasquez to drop the firearm and get on the ground. Velasquez pointed the firearm, which had a visible blue laser sight on it, in the direction of Officer Archuleta (and civilians) and fired it. Officer Archuleta then discharged his department-issued duty firearm striking Velasquez.
Velasquez was transported from the scene to an area hospital. After the exchange, the silver Infinity left the scene. Agents located the silver Infinity, and the driver, at a residence in Los Lunas, New Mexico. The driver was identified as Joseph Montoya, 18, of Albuquerque. Montoya told agents he was present during the shooting incident at Cabela’s. Montoya further stated Velasquez asked for a ride to Cabela’s and he knew Velasquez was armed with a handgun. Montoya said as he left the Cabela’s, law enforcement attempted to stop him. He ignored their lights and sirens and fled the scene.
Joseph Montoya was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Albuquerque Metro Detention Center. Montoya was charged with the Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery and Resisting, Evading, or Obstructing an Officer.
Gabriel Velasquez was released from the hospital on May 9 and booked into the Albuquerque Metro Detention Center and charged with Armed Robbery, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (4 counts), and Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery.
No officers or innocent bystanders were injured during the incident. Officer Archuleta has been a New Mexico State Police Officer for 9 years. Following the incident, he was placed on standard administrative leave. The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau agents work to independently determine the series of events leading to the shooting, including collecting evidence and conducting interviews. Throughout the process, investigative findings are shared with the district attorney for their review and consideration. The New Mexico State Police acts solely as factfinders in its cases and does not determine whether the actions of an officer were justified in these types of matters. That decision rests with the district attorney’s office. This investigation remains active and open by the Multi-Agency Task Force which is being led by the New Mexico State Police. Any available updates on this investigation will be posted online at https://www.dps.nm.gov/news-releases.