Demonstrators are protesting police violence in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after a Black teen died in a SWAT standoff that ended with a house fire.
Albuquerque Police said they called a SWAT team after 27-year-old Qiaunt Kelley, a suspect wanted on a felony warrant, barricaded himself in a home on Wednesday, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
The SWAT team used an unknown quantity of tear gas canisters and “rounds of powder-based chemicals” in the home before officials spotted smoke inside, according to Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina.
Medina added that officers didn’t fire weapons during the standoff.
A fire broke out in the home and the suspect was arrested after exiting the home, police said.
Fire crews and police later discovered the juvenile, who was not named by officials but is believed to have been about 14 years old, dead in the home. Officials are looking into the cause of his death.
Police said they believe the teen went to the home with the suspect.
The death and questions over whether munitions ignited the fire has sparked protests in the city, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Elizabeth Fields, who told the Albuquerque Journal that her sister Sundra Coleman owns the home, said two men were visiting Coleman’s son when a SWAT team arrived “with guns drawn” and handcuffed her relatives outside their home, according to the newspaper.
“And then they start pulling off the windows, they started removing the doors, they had a machine that ripped up the tree, and so then they started throwing gas bombs in there,” Fields said.
A resident of the home, whom Source New Mexico identified as Deja, said the family is now unsure where they’ll live.
She said the family told police about the teen in the home and they “let him die and burn.”
An investigation is underway to figure out if “one munition” is connected to the fire that broke out in the home, according to Medina.
Albuquerque Fire Rescue’s Arson Unit is aiding the police investigation.