SWAT kills boy

SWAT team burns down house killing 14-year old boy

Demonstrators marched in Albuquerque’s International District Thursday night to protest police violence after an hourslong SWAT standoff ended in a home burning down and the death of a teen who was inside.

“What happened from the get-go was unacceptable,” said a resident of the house, Deja, holding her toddler in one arm and gripping a mic with her other hand. “I don’t have nowhere to go now, and I don’t know where my son is going to live. I don’t know where my mom is going to live.” 

Her mom worked two jobs all her life, Deja said, to raise her. When the house burned down, “they took everything,” she said.

The family was telling police a 14-year-old boy was still in the house, she said, “and they let him die, and burn.” 

On Wednesday, officers were following Qiaunt Kelley, who had a warrant out for parole violations.

Kelley and the teen went to the house where a friend lived, according to police, and when detectives tried to arrest Kelley, he ran inside. Then SWAT was called in, Police Chief Harold Medina explained Thursday.

Copwatchers and other observers there that night attended the demonstration and said munitions SWAT officers shot into the home started the fire.

“Different types of munitions were used,” Medina said. “It is unknown exactly where in the home the individual was.”

The Albuquerque Police Department and city’s fire department said they’re investigating whether tear gas and pepper spray canisters ignited the fire — such weapons have done so when used in similar SWAT situations elsewhere.

“At the end of the day,” said Coleman’s niece before the march began, officers are “going home to their home, and my Aunty Sundra’s not going to a home.” She pointed to other relatives. “She’s not going to a home. He’s not going to a home.” 

It’s unclear who gave orders preventing Albuquerque Fire Rescue from extinguishing the fire more quickly or saving the person inside. “It took time for us to turn off the fire,” Medina said. “We have to remember that the fire department, they are not police officers… It is a challenge for us to get them into an unresolved situation.”

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