Records show Rio Arriba man killed by Albuquerque police had mental illness

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Dillon Mullan, The Santa Fe New Mexican
·2 min read
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Feb. 23—A Rio Arriba County man fatally shot Saturday by Albuquerque police appears to have been a military veteran and was a father of three who had been diagnosed with mental illness, records show.

His former wife told police Trivino carried an assault rifle everywhere he went and struggled with drug addiction.

Harold Medina, interim chief of the Albuquerque Police Department, said 40-year-old Claude Trivino of Hernández was disrupting traffic on foot Saturday and threw a knife at an officer. After an officer attempted to tase him near an intersection, Medina said in a Sunday news conference posted on social media, one or two officers opened fire.

Trivino later died at an Albuquerque hospital.

Drivers were trying to avoid striking Trivino when he was in the roadway, Medina said in the news conference.

"As officers arrived on scene, they tried to contact the individual, but the individual refused. The male turned around and charged officers. Officers did discharge their firearms. The male subject did go down.

"One of our officers did sustain a superficial wound, and a knife was recovered," he added.

According to a news release, two officers involved in the shooting are now on standard administrative leave.

Reached by phone Monday, Trivino's former wife, Christina Trivino, declined an interview. Court records show she received full custody of the couple's three children — ages 18, 13 and 11 — in January 2020.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court, Dr. David Manno of the New Mexico Veterans Affairs Health Care System signed an order Dec. 18 for an emergency psychiatric evaluation of Claude Trivino, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had been off his medication "for some time."

The order said Trivino, who had military training, presented "a likelihood of serious harm to himself or others and immediate detention was necessary to prevent such harm."

Officers attempted to take Trivino to Presbyterian Española Hospital, the complaint said, but he either wasn't home or fled on foot when they tried to approach him.

On Dec. 21, Rio Arriba County deputies attempted to pull over Trivino, but he refused to stop and was charged with resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, according to the criminal complaint.

The Rio Arriba County Sheriff's Office issued a warning that Trivino had a troubled past and likely was armed, but Albuquerque police say there is no evidence officers involved in the shooting knew that.

According to the Washington Post, Trivino is the 120th person shot and killed by law enforcement in New Mexico since 2015.