Video Captures N.M. Police Chief's Crash to Avoid Gunfire

Feb. 22, 2024
Investigators are searching for the man responsible for firing shots that forced Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina to run a red light to avoid the gunfire, crashing into another vehicle.

By Matthew Reisen

Source Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers released photos of a man and the truck he fled in after allegedly shooting at another person Saturday morning on East Central.

The shooting, according to the Albuquerque Police Department, led Chief Harold Medina to run a red light to avoid gunfire and crash into another car, seriously injuring a man.

Crime Stoppers' release showed a man wearing all black, with a beanie and long red beard. He appeared to be smoking a cigarette.

The release included a photo of the truck the man left in: a white early 2000s lifted Nissan Frontier with off-road tires, black rims, a camper shell and aftermarket grille guard.

No one was injured in the shooting itself, but police say a driver was seriously injured after Medina crashed into him while trying to get away. The man was initially taken to a hospital in critical condition but is expected to recover.

Medina and his wife, who was in the unmarked APD truck with him, were not injured.

Police said Medina took a breathalyzer and drug test after the crash and requested an internal investigation be done because he did not have his lapel camera on.

On Tuesday, APD said Medina blew zeros on the breathalyzer and the "drug test is pending."

"This weekend was a big reminder to me what it was like to be a patrol officer and have to make difficult decisions, and life-and-death decisions, in a split second," Medina said in a video statement released Tuesday.

In the statement, titled "Chief's Corner" and sent to APD personnel, Medina said he was sorry for the man who was injured and wished him "a speedy recovery."

"We did try to reach out to him and he is not ready to speak to us, and that's not surprising," Medina said.

APD on Tuesday released the supplemental report from the incident.

About 9:15 a.m. Medina called over dispatch that he had been in crash at Central and Alvarado and "there were shots fired," according to the report. Medina told dispatch the man with the gun ran into the Tewa Lodge courtyard, where officers searched to no avail.

The report said Medina told officers he was parked at the intersection when two men began arguing in front of the motel and one pulled out a gun. Medina told police he "could see the barrel of the gun and knew he was in the line of fire so he immediately began driving."

Investigation found Medina drove through a red light and crashed into the driver, who was headed east on Central.

In the video statement, Medina said he "stayed there a second (and) evaluated the situation." He said he decided the "best thing" was to get his wife out of harm's way "and regroup."

Medina said he thought the oncoming car, a classic, gold Mustang, would pass through intersection before he got there. He added, "and it did not."

The police report said surveillance video showed the shooter ran west and got into a truck that was parked outside Café Da Lat. The person who was shot at did not stay at the scene or talk to police "aside from a short conversation with Chief Medina to tell him he was not shot."

In the video statement, Medina said he was going to a news conference on Saturday and took his wife along so they could get dinner after, as he had missed Valentine's Day.

He said he pulled over to call in a request for officers to clear a homeless encampment on Alvarado, north of Central. Medina said his wife saw the men arguing first and told him, "look, those two homeless individuals are about to get into a fight.'"

"I do not know if they were homeless, but they were in some type of argument," he said.

During a news conference after the crash, Mayor Tim Keller implied that the fight and shooting were tied to encampments.

"It's also not lost on us, the situation with respect to encampments and a firearm," he said. "We don't know any details but would not be surprised if there was fentanyl or whatever other illegal substance could have been exchanged. These are the kinds of things that we absolutely have to address."

Hours later, on Saturday afternoon, police shared a gunshot detection alert and investigative findings that showed the fight happened on the opposite side of the street and more than 100 feet from the encampment.

Anyone with information about the incident or the suspect or vehicle is asked to contact Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 505-843-STOP (7867) or


(c)2024 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

Visit the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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