The man who was the focus of a SWAT standoff that ended in a fatal house fire last week has been charged with murder in an unrelated case.
Albuquerque Police Department detectives charged Qiaunt Kelley, 27, with an open count of murder and armed robbery in the June 25 death of 41-year-old Leonard Fresquez. It’s unclear who his attorney will be.
Police spoke with multiple witnesses, some confidential, who tied Kelley — who they knew as “Q” — in one way or another to the killing of Fresquez during a robbery turned gunfight, as well as a nonfatal shooting two days earlier a block away.
Police were looking for Kelley as a person of interest in the homicide and other crimes when they tracked him and 15-year-old Brett Rosenau to a Southeast Albuquerque home on July 6. Kelley, who was also wanted on a parole violation, and the teen ran inside the home and the SWAT team was called in.
The SWAT team threw tear gas canisters and shot other chemical munitions into the home before the house caught fire, according to police. Kelley surrendered and Rosenau was found dead from smoke inhalation inside the home.
The incident has sparked outrage in the community and the state Attorney General’s Office is conducting an independent review.
Albuquerque Fire Rescue is investigating the cause of the fire — which police believe may have been sparked by one of their SWAT devices — and the Multi-Agency Task Force is conducting a separate investigation into the actions of law enforcement.
The shooting of Fresquez started around 5:30 p.m. when a gunshot detection device reported shooting in the area of Grove and Trumbull SE, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
Police responded as multiple 911 calls came in of a man lying on the ground in the area. They found Fresquez with at least three gunshot wounds and he died at a hospital soon after.
A witness told police he heard gunfire and went outside to see two men firing at each other, according to the complaint. He said one of the men fell to the ground and the other kept shooting him before fleeing.
Police said they found casings from two separate guns at the scene, but no gun was found near Fresquez. One set of casings matched a separate nonfatal shooting on June 23 a block away.
Police found the man who had taken the gun and he told them after the shooting he took the gun from the victim, “but took nothing else,” according to the complaint. The man told police he took it “because it was a nice gun and he wanted to sell the gun.”
“(The man) did state that multiple people took items from the victim and said that I should know how things are in that part of town,” according to the complaint.
The police spoke to three separate people, all unnamed in the complaint due to “fear of retaliation,” who tied a man they knew as “Q” to either the Fresquez homicide or the earlier shooting.
One person told police they saw a man who matched “Q’s” description shoot Fresquez and flee, according to the complaint. A second person told police they ran outside after the shooting and another man told them “Q” was robbing Fresquez as Fresquez sat in his SUV.
The man told the witness “Q” shot Fresquez, the men got into a shootout and Fresquez was hit.
Police said a third person told them they saw “Q” shoot and injure a man during a fight two days before at Charleston and Grove SE. Police identified “Q” as a moniker for Kelley and all three confidential witnesses picked him out as “Q” in a photo.
A neighbor told police “Q” came into her apartment the night of Fresquez’s homicide and began covering all the windows, hiding inside, according to the complaint. She said “Q” did not tell her what happened but she heard “on the street” that he had fatally shot a man down the street.
Police said the woman told them “Q” “bullies his way” into her apartment but she doesn’t want him there. She identified “Q” as Kelley from a photo.