Hours after hundreds of people took to the streets of Albuquerque to protest the fatal shooting of a homeless man by city police, officers killed another man who had first opened fire on them, authorities said.
The killing is the latest in a string of controversial deaths at the hands of Albuquerque police, who have been criticized for being too aggressive.
The latest suspect was shot late Tuesday night outside of an apartment complex following a 911 call about a man allegedly holding a child at gunpoint, Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden told reporters.
Eden said the man "exited with a firearm and fired it," before officers returned fire.
The suspect, who has not been named, died Wednesday morning at a hospital according to Albuquerque police spokesman Tasia Martinez.
Eden did not answer questions from reporters after giving a statement about the shooting.
Albuquerque police are facing heavy criticism for 36 other police shootings – 22 of them fatal – since 2010, including the fatal shooting of a homeless man earlier this month in the Sandia Foothills.
In the Sandia Foothills shooting, authorities said James Boyd, 38, died after officers fired stun guns, beanbags and six live rounds at him on March 16.
Police said Boyd had threatened to kill officers and held onto knives as an unarmed K-9 officer approached him.
But a helmet camera video showed Boyd gathering his belongings then turning away right before officers fired. The shooting followed a long standoff during which Boyd claimed he was a federal government agent.
“It’s unclear exactly what has caused this spate of officer-involved shootings in recent years. What is clear is that the rate at which APD shoots Albuquerque citizens is unacceptable, far outstripping even much larger cities,” Micah McCoy, a spokesperson for the North American chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told Al Jazeera.
“One of the main problems, however, is that many of those shot and killed by APD suffer from mental illness and may exhibit erratic or agitated behaviors in these situations, increasing their risk," he said.
A protest Tuesday evening in downtown Albuquerque drew a crowd from around the city and Santa Fe. Some chanted "We want justice," while others held placards that read "APD is guilty" as they marched for a few blocks to police headquarters.
Albuquerque police are already under a U.S. Justice Department investigation for their use of force. Mayor Richard Berry has asked DOJ officials to add the Boyd shooting to its ongoing probe.
In addition, Berry has asked neighboring Las Cruces Police Department to join a five-agency investigation into the shooting.
DOJ officials were scheduled to privately meet with community activists on Wednesday to discuss Boyd's shooting.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press. Wilson Dizard contributed to this report.