Police are investigating a SWAT raid that resulted in the death of a 15-year-old boy in New Mexico last week.
A preliminary autopsy revealed that Brett Rosenau had died from smoke inhalation, the Albuquerque Police Department said in a statement Sunday.
The boy, who was not the apparent target of the raid, was inside a house that caught fire during a July 7 SWAT raid in southeast Albuquerque, police say .
“In our efforts to track down and arrest a violent criminal, a youth tragically lost his life,” Police Chief Harold Medina said in the statement. “I know many people in our community are hurting at this time and I appreciate everyone’s patience while the incident is fully investigated. If any of our actions inadvertently contributed to its death, we will take steps to ensure that it does not happen again.”
Autopsy and toxicology reports are pending, police said.
Police were looking for Qiaunt Kelley, 27, who authorities say violated his parole for armed carjacking and vehicle theft, and followed him to a house where he barricaded himself inside . A second person, later identified as Rosenau, followed Kelley into the house, police said in the statement.
Kelley was also wanted for questioning in connection with a May 5 police shooting, June 26 shooting death of a man, and an undated armed robbery allegedly investigated by police and officials. federal authorities.
According to police, Kelley and Rosenau were ordered to leave the house, but did not.
Police said officers used a drone to drop powdered irritants to force Kelley and Rosenau out of the house. At one point, police reported seeing smoke coming from inside the house.
When firefighters arrived, Kelley got out of the house and was taken to the hospital to be treated for burns. He was later arrested and imprisoned for his outstanding terms.
The boy was found dead inside the home, police said.
Albuquerque police did not immediately respond to USA TODAY for comment.
No other injuries were reported, but according to the Albuquerque Journal, the fire destroyed the home, displaced its owners and killed a dog.
Albuquerque Fire Rescue was investigating the cause of the fire on Monday, police said.
A multi-agency task force is conducting a criminal investigation, police said, and the results will be forwarded to the local district attorney for review.
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In the statement, Medina acknowledged the possibility that devices used to introduce irritants into the home may have caused the fire.
The department, he said, uses devices designed for indoor use to minimize the likelihood of starting a fire. No other such fires were reported, police said.
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Contact her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.