Albuquerque is tied with Denver as the highest elevation metropolitan city in the U.S., but it’s also one of the oldest. While the city was founded more than 300 years ago, however, you’ll find the following accounts are all relatively recent—that’s likely because Albuquerque’s population has more than doubled since 1970. Though more people means more criminals, it also means more armed citizens prepared to meet them head on, as detailed below.
A Wal-Mart customer with a concealed-carry permit came to a female employee's rescue when violence erupted in a crowded store early one evening. Police say an employee was working in the deli when her ex-husband leapt across the counter and began stabbing her multiple times. That's when 72-year-old Due Moore intervened, shooting and killing the ex-husband. The woman was taken to the hospital where she was expected to recover from her wounds. (Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, N.M., 8/27/2005)
Justin Doyle was roused at 11 p.m. one night by loud banging on his back door. In order to protect his pregnant wife and 19-month-old child who were at home, Doyle retrieved his rifle while his wife dialed 9-1-1. Suddenly a glass door was smashed in with a cinder block and a man with a knife burst into their home. Doyle shot the home invader once in the torso, killing him. Police later identified the suspect as Manuel Villa. “The law allows citizens to use deadly force to protect their homes, lives and property,” said police spokesman Jeff Arbogast. "Out of fear for his life, and the lives of his family, Mr. Doyle armed himself with a rifle and shot the intruder. It's a tragic event to have to go through." (Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, N.M., 8/22/2003)
When Santa Fe, N.M., resident Lisa Pelland heard noises outside her bedroom window one night, she armed herself with a gun and went outside to investigate. There she discovered Jay Medina stacking bricks under her bedroom window. She called out to him three times to stay away, but Medina advanced on her and uttered a threatening statement that made her fearful. Pelland said she then shot the intruder. (Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, N.M., 4/19/2002)
Screams from an Albuquerque, N.M., woman who returned home one afternoon to find a burglar inside called an entire neighborhood to action. After the fleeing suspect hopped into a getaway car with an accomplice, the pair sped off. Unfortunately for the nefarious knuckleheads, their escape route turned out to be a dead-end street. When the car pulled into a driveway, one suspect escaped and the other was quickly surrounded by a pistol-wielding neighbor and other residents. "It's a good response by the neighbors," said Sgt. B. Carr of the Albuquerque Police Department. (Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, N.M., 9/19/1999)
Two men, one armed with a knife, attempted to rob a grocery store in Albuquerque, N.M. The store manager, Diana Surdukan, struggled with the knife-wielding thug and was stabbed three times in the back. She produced a handgun, then fired on her assailant, hitting him in the chest. The second suspect was held for police. "We don't anticipate any charges against Diana. This is obviously self-defense. She was fighting for her life," Albuquerque police said. (Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, N.M., 7/24/1997)
Alone in her Albuquerque home one morning, Catherine Mobley armed herself with a handgun after a man intent on burglary broke through a sliding glass door. Mobley ordered the man to leave, but when he refused, she shot and killed him. “If it appears to be what it appears to be, this is not an open and shut case,” said the DA. “It's a shut and shut case." (Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, N.M., 5/12/1993)
When James Borland, a former New Mexico state senator and U.S. attorney, awoke to noises in his Albuquerque home one night, he investigated with his pistol in hand. When a burglar came out of another bedroom, Borland fired a single shot that sent him fleeing. Police later apprehended a wounded 17-year-old at a local hospital. He proved to be a multiple offender, out on probation from the New Mexico Boys School. (The Tribune, Albuquerque, N.M., 9/28/1990)