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APD releases update on death related to house fire

July 10, 2022

ALBUQUERQUE – APD released the following update today on the teen-age male who died during a house fire early Thursday while officers pursued a dangerous suspect in Southeast Albuquerque.


The individual was identified as Brett Rosenau (3/24/2007). The preliminary results of an autopsy cited the cause of death as smoke inhalation and also confirmed that Rosenau was not shot by anyone, as some bystanders alleged at the scene. A full autopsy report with toxicology and CO2 results will be released later by the Office of the Medical Investigator.


“In our effort to track down and arrest a violent criminal, a young person tragically lost his life,” APD Chief Harold Medina said. “I know many people in our community are hurting right now, and appreciate everyone’s patience while the incident is thoroughly investigated. If any of our actions inadvertently contributed to his death, we will take steps to ensure this never happens again. I’ve asked our Victim’s Services Unit to work with the family and provide them support during this painful time.”


“No matter what the circumstances were, a boy’s life was tragically cut short, something no person or parent should experience,” Mayor Tim Keller said. “Every single life is valuable and the loss of any one is devastating to the family and the community. We share our condolences to all who know him and loved him.”


APD detectives were searching for Qiaunt Kelley, who violated probation for armed carjacking and stolen vehicle charges, when they tracked him down at a home on Wednesday in the 8100 block of San Joaquin, S.E. Detectives later discovered a gun in the car Kelley arrived in, and determined the motorcycle he was working on at the residence was stolen. Kelley was also wanted for questioning related to the June 26, 2022, shooting death of Leonard Fresquez; an officer-involved shooting on May 5, 2022, at 7604 Central Ave., S.E. in which someone fired an automatic weapon toward officers; and a recent armed robbery being investigated by APD and federal law enforcement.


Kelley fled from detectives and barricaded himself inside the home. A second individual, later identified as Rosenau, followed Kelley into the home. SWAT officers from APD and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office tried for several hours to convince them to peacefully exit the home. The teams also used strategies such as public address announcements and placing a phone into the residence to make contact with the two males. Dozens of calls were made, but crisis negotiators never heard from Kelley or Rosenau. A drone and robots were used to determine who was inside the house and to activate powder irritants inside the home to get the individuals to exit. At one point, a man believed to be Kelley, opened the back door of the home and lay on his back as officers monitored his actions. He ignored officers’ commands to stand up. He eventually sat in place. Officers used a noise flash diversionary device to get Kelley to follow commands. But he retreated back into the home, shutting the door.


The stand-off ended after officers noticed smoke coming from the house. They used the drone and robot to attempt to locate the source of the smoke. They determined a fire was active inside the home. As fire fighters arrived, Kelley exited the residence with burn injuries. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and later arrested and booked into jail overnight on his warrants. Rosenau was found deceased inside the home.


Albuquerque Fire Rescue is conducting an arson investigation to determine the cause of the fire. That investigation is likely to take about two weeks.


APD Chief Medina has acknowledged the possibility that the devices used to introduce irritants into the home may have caused the fire. APD uses devices that are designed for indoor use to minimize the likelihood of igniting a fire, and no fires have been reported over the many years they have been used in Albuquerque.


Prior to being booked into jail, Kelley spoke briefly to detectives, but declined to answer questions about the incident or any other investigations.


Because the death occurred while police were taking a suspect into custody, a multi-agency task force is conducting a criminal investigation, and the results will be forwarded to the District Attorney for review. APD will also conduct an administrative investigation to determine whether any policies were violated. APD’s Force Review Board will forward the findings to the Superintendent of Police Reform to determine if this incident met the high standards of the Albuquerque Police Department.


APD is also required to report details of the investigations to the Department of Justice and the Independent Monitor as part of the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement. In addition, APD will publicly release video from officers who were part of the incident, as well as drone and other video related to the incident.