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The Albuquerque Police Department has been under scrutiny for how often officers discharge their weapon and pressure will likely only increase after the fatal shooting of a woman suspected of auto theft, despite her being allegedly armed.
Police say that the 19-year-old woman, later identified as Mary Hawkes, pointed a gun at officers who were chasing her, reports KRQE. Police Chief Gorden Eden said, "The suspect stopped turned around and pointed a handgun at close range...the officer fired at the suspect."
The incident occurred early Tuesday morning as police were searching for an alleged car thief and they spotted the young woman and gave chase on foot.
Witnesses say police were in the area preceding the shooting. "All I heard was the three gunshots and it turned quiet. I didn't hear no yelling, no nothing. I just heard a lot of cop cars coming," said Alberto Lopez.
According to The Associated Press, this is the third fatal shooting by Albuquerque police officers over the past five weeks. This is the first fatal shooting since the Justice Department found that the police department tended to use "excessive force."
While this woman allegedly had a gun, many people that police were found to have used excessive force against often "posed a minimal threat" or were suffering from mental illness according to the investigation. Over a four-year span 37 people were shot, with 23 dying as a result. Now add one more.