The body cam footage captured the fatal shooting of Elijah Riche by the Bernalilo police department in Bernalilo, New Mexico, on September 21, 2017. The video shows the suspect running away from the deputies on Nikanda Road and eventually reaching a fence that blocked off a parking lot. Riche then turned around and ran back toward the two deputies in their cruisers. During this time, he was shot one time by BCSO deputy Perez. In the body cam footage, Riche was holding a 10-mm pistol and a 9-mm AR-style pistol. Investigators also found a 12-gauge shotgun in the car Riche crashed into.
The Multi-Agency Task Force will investigate whether the Deputy Perez’s shooting was justified. In addition, the district attorney’s office will assign a special prosecutor to the case. Meanwhile, the BCSO is conducting its own internal investigation.
The video is one of the most disturbing pieces of evidence in the investigation of the shooting. The body-cam footage clearly shows that BCSO deputy Ronald Perez shot Elijah Riche in the back, after he had run away from the scene holding a gun. The video also shows that Riche had not held the gun in a threatening manner, nor was he poised to shoot.
The video of Riche’s body camera reveals that he was fleeing the scene after a hit-and-run accident with a police officer. Riche had been driving southbound on Edith Boulevard while the officer was responding to an unrelated call when the incident occurred. Riche then crashed into a chain-link fence and a trailer business at the intersection of Nikanda Road and Edith Blvd. He was reportedly carrying a bag with him and left behind a 12-gauge shotgun in his vehicle.
The video of the shooting was released by the Bernalilo County Sheriff’s Office on November 26. However, it only shows Perez and Riche, and it does not show any other officers who were in the car with Riche when he was killed. Jones, who represents the ACLU-NM, says that the video is not sufficient for a proper investigation of the incident. The ACLU-NM is calling for an independent investigation of this shooting.