A teenager died from smoke inhalation during a SWAT raid at a home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last week. The Albuquerque Police Department said that detectives tracked 27-year-old Qiaunt Kelley to the house, and he barricaded himself inside along with 15-year-old Brett Rosenau when officers showed up.
Kelley was wanted for violating his probation for armed carjacking and stolen vehicle charges. He was also wanted for questioning in relation to a shooting death, an officer-involved shooting, and an armed robbery.
Officers tried to make contact with Kelley and Rosenau, but they both ignored dozens of phone calls. After a standoff lasting several hours, the SWAT team used a drone to “activate powder irritants inside the home to get the individuals to exit.”
As the standoff continued, the SWAT team noticed smoke pouring out of the house and contacted the fire department. As firefighters arrived at the scene, Kelley came out of the house with burn injuries. He was taken to the hospital for treatment and then arrested.
Inside the home, they found the body of Rosenau and determined he died from smoke inhalation.
“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.”
Investigators are trying to determine what caused the fire. Medina acknowledged that the devices used by the SWAT team could start a fire but noted they are designed for indoor use and that there have been no reports of fires caused by the devices.