ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – An ex-convict was charged Thursday in the shooting of an Albuquerque police officer who was in critical condition after being wounded outside a pharmacy during a traffic stop, authorities said.
Eight-year veteran officer Dan Webster underwent surgery Wednesday night and was expected to undergo even more procedures, a union official said.
“He’s in critical but somewhat stable condition,” Albuquerque Police Officers Association President Stephanie Lopez said.
She declined to elaborate but said officers have set up a private account so people can donate to help with medical cost.
A federal criminal complaint against suspect Davon Lymon says the officer’s wounds include one to his face.
“For me, this is a terrible day. A terrible day,” Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said.
Lymon, 34, of Albuquerque was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, court records show. Authorities say he has a criminal record.
The shooting occurred as New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has launched a task force to examine how repeat offenders leave the state’s criminal justice system quickly and commit more crimes.
The move came after another repeat offender was accused of killing a Rio Rancho police officer earlier this year.
The complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court by a federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officer cited Lymon’s previous felony convictions in New Mexico.
He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery in 2002, and to fraud and forgery the year before.
He also faced aggravated battery and kidnapping charges last year that were dismissed, online records show.
U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Elizabeth Martinez said Lymon didn’t yet have an attorney in the current case and that an initial court appearance hadn’t yet been scheduled because he was getting medical treatment before being taken into federal custody.
The federal complaint said Webster was shot after he pulled Lymon over while Lymon was riding a motorcycle with a stolen license plate. Lymon pulled out a gun and fired it six times as the officer attempted to handcuff Lymon to the motorcycle, the complaint said.
It also said officers found a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol in a vacant lot where Lymon headed after the shooting.
The federal complaint said Lymon had a handcuff on his left wrist when he was found hiding in a shed and that he was hospitalized for injuries sustained during his apprehension by a police dog.
Lopez said she and Albuquerque Police Officers Association vice president Shaun Willoughby visited the scene of the shooting and urged the community to support officers.
Both said they believe officers are being second-guessed following a federal Department of Justice investigation into use of force by Albuquerque police.
“There is a criminal element that feels emboldened because the DOJ has tied the hands” of Albuquerque police, Lopez said.
Davenport contributed from Phoenix.
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