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APD releases details of police shooting that injured officer

January 09, 2024

ALBUQUERQUE – The Albuquerque Police Department released details of a suspect who shot an officer and was shot during an ensuing exchange of gunfire with other officers on Dec. 30, 2023.

7817 Central Ave NE

On Dec. 30, 2023, APD dispatch alerted Southeast officers at 8:17 p.m. about a vehicle flagged by an automated license plate reader in the area of Central Ave and Louisiana Blvd. The license plate number belonged to a gray 2014 Acura that was reported as being embezzled.

At 8:18 p.m., Officer Zachary Garris responded to dispatch that he spotted the vehicle in the parking lot of the Adam Food Market, located at 7817 Central Ave., N.E. He noted the car was parked on the west side of the parking lot and faced north.

Officers developed a plan to conduct a felony stop at the market. Four officers in three police vehicles approached the parked Acura with their emergency lights and sirens on.

Officer Garris and Officer Isaiah Relaford were in the first police vehicle that approached the Acura from behind. The driver of the Acura, later identified as Santiago Perez, attempted to back out and bumped into the police car. Both officers – one armed with a handgun and one with a less-lethal launcher -- opened their car doors and shouted commands for the driver to turn off the vehicle and get out. Within 7 seconds, as officers gave commands, Perez opened the driver’s side door and fired one round from a handgun, striking Officer Garris in the hands as he held his gun. Officer Garris fell to the ground, but pulled himself up as the driver fired additional shots. Had the round not struck his hands, it would have likely struck Officer Garris in the chest or head.

Officer Relaford ran around the back of the police car and helped Officer Garris take cover behind the vehicle. Officer Relaford turned his attention to Perez, who exited the Acura. Officer Relaford fired one round at the driver, who turned and ran around the front of the Acura and turned east, where several bystanders were scattered through the parking lot and to the east of the market.

Perez fled the vehicle still armed, running east along the front entrance of the market. Several bystanders were in the direct area Perez was running, some taking cover behind a car and some out in the open area. Two officers who were in vehicles behind Officers Garris and Relaford had stepped out and yelled for bystanders to get back. As Perez ran toward the bystanders with the firearm still in his hand, Officer Howard Perry fired two rounds, striking Perez in the arm and the leg. Perez immediately fell to the ground and his handgun flung from his hand and landed several feet away. None of the bystanders were injured.

Officer Garris suffered injuries to both hands as a bullet struck him while holding his department-issued firearm during the encounter. He was transported to a local hospital and has been through two surgeries to treat his injuries.

Perez, 29, was also transported to a hospital where he is being treated for gunshot wounds to his arm and leg.

Following the shooting, detectives learned that Perez is a convicted felon who was on parole for an armed robbery conviction. Perez had a parole warrant for his arrest. Detectives are working with the District Attorney’s Office and federal prosecutors to pursue charges against Perez.

Over the next several months, APD will continue to investigate and analyze this incident. Detectives will continue interviewing any new witnesses that come forward and complete any forensic tests. The Multi-Agency Task Force will forward its case to the District Attorney’s Office to make any determination of criminal charges.

SUBJECT:     Santiago Perez, 29

INJURED OFFICER:           Officer Zachary Garris has been with the department since 2020.


Officer Howard Perry, who has been with the department since 2021, has not been involved any previous shootings.

Officer Isaiah Relaford, who has been with the department since 2021, has not been involved any previous shootings.