ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Homicide detectives have located the third person involved in the incident that sparked a fatal shooting by Albuquerque police officers earlier this week, a police statement announced Friday afternoon.
Michael Betz, 42, was taken into custody Thursday and jailed on unrelated charges. It was he who drove his girlfriend and Parrish Denison, 41, to a music store where an attempt to sell stolen items led to Dennison's death in a confrontation with police, according to the statement.
Police have described Denison as a white supremacist with gang connections who told Betz he would not go back to prison.
According to the APD statement Betz said he met Denison about two weeks ago and that Dennison was trying to raise enough money to get out of New Mexico. Betz told homicide detectives he and his girlfriend, Lisa Robles, picked up Denison on Tuesday after Denison asked for help in selling items because he didn't have any identification.
Betz said he assumed the items in a guitar case were stolen but didn't know for sure, investigators said.
Things began to sour when Robles tried to sell the items at Music-Go-Round in the 7100 block of Menaul Boulevard NE. Store personnel recognized the property as stolen, told Robles not to leave and called police, earlier reports stated.
The APD statement details what happened next:
- Betz and Denison returned to the store about 15 minutes later to pick up Robles and parked outside just before the first APD officer arrived.
- When Betz told Denison he was going to sit there and not do anything wrong, Denison took off on foot with the officer in pursuit. That gave Betz an opportunity to drive away, which he did.
- Betz stopped nearby and walked back to the store to retrieve Robles but changed his mind when he saw a large number of police officers there.
The massive police response came when the officer chasing Denison reported an armed man had pointed a pistol at him. The chase through a commercial area locked down businesses near Menaul and Louisiana as officers established a perimeter and called out the APD SWAT team.
Officers eventually flushed Denison from his hiding place and shot him as he approached apparently ready to shoot, APD Chief Ray Schultz said in news conferences following the shooting.
Denison was taken to UNM Hospital where he later died.
Neither Betz nor Robles face charges for their roles in the incident although an investigation into the stolen property is continuing.
Betz was jailed on three outstanding warrants alleging he failed to appear in court and at court-ordered pre-trial meetings related to a DWI arrest, according court records. He's being held under bonds totaling $9,000.
Records also show Betz had an earlier DWI arrest and a charge of marijuana possession.