An Albuquerque Police Department (APD) spokesperson admitted yesterday that police officials knew about an undercover federal investigation of Davon Lymon in the weeks prior to Lymon allegedly killing APD officer Daniel Webster on Oct. 21. The spokesperson also said the department chose not to issue an arrest warrant for him after he ran from an APD officer during a traffic stop on Sept. 19 and dropped a loaded firearms magazine from his pocket as he fled.
In a statement to KRQE-TV Wednesday evening, the spokesperson, who was not named, broke the department’s weeks long silence on law enforcement’s dealings Lymon with a statement that reads:
“Through the course of trying to find out who Mr. Lymon was, we found out about the ongoing ATF investigation into Lymon. We made the decision to not summons him for misdemeanor eluding, which could have negatively affected the federal investigation.”
New Mexico In Depth has been seeking comment from APD about the undercover investigation for more than two weeks — since publishing this story on Jan. 29 about agents’ alleged purchases of $6,500 worth of heroin and a firearm from Lymon in September and October.
The agents did not arrest Lymon.
APD has never responded to NMID’s questions, which were sent to spokeswoman Celina Espinoza and to officer Tanner Tixier, who also handles media inquiries for the department. Espinoza is paid an annual salary of $73,000 as APD’s “communications and community outreach director.” Tixier is paid a base salary of $58, 240, plus overtime.
The statement to KRQE does not answer whether APD had any role in that investigation, which was conducted by the federal bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Federal officials have said APD did “not have a role in developing the investigative strategy” or in “supervising” it. But they have refused to say whether APD participated in any other way or whether other agencies were involved.
On Wednesday morning, NMID published a story about APD officer Byron “Trey” Economidy’s traffic stop of Lymon for a suspected stolen motorized scooter on Sept. 19. The stop took place eight days after the first alleged undercover purchase and 13 days before the second.
Lymon ran from Economidy during the stop and was not captured. APD did not issue an arrest warrant for him.
Economidy wrote in his police report that he sent body camera video of the encounter to a sergeant in the APD Gang Unit in an effort o learn the identity of the man he had stopped. The sergeant, according to Economidy’s report, “immediately” recognized Lymon.
The report does not say whether the sergeant took any action, such as issuing a department-wide officer safety bulletin or sharing information about Lymon with other aw enforcement agencies.
Neither does APD’s statement to KRQE.
Five weeks after Economidy’s stop of Lymon — and 19 days after the second alleged undercover purchase — Lymon allegedly shot Webster.
NMID began sending questions to APD about the Economidy stop on Friday. The department has not responded.