New Mexico teenager dies of smoke inhalation in clash with Albuquerque police

A teenager who Albuquerque police say was barricaded in a house with a murder suspect died of smoke inhalation when the house caught fire after cops fired ammunition into the building during a stalemate of several hours.

Brett David Rosenau, 15, followed Qaiunt Kelley, 27, to a house in the 8100 block of San Joaquin Avenue SE around 10 p.m. Wednesday after police attempted to take Kelley into custody on multiple outstanding warrants , Albuquerque police said.

Kelley was wanted for violating his probation for carjacking and car theft.

He was also wanted for questioning in connection with a murder in June and a separate shooting in May in which someone fired bullets from an automatic weapon toward police, cops say.

Brett David Rosenau, 15, was found dead in a house where he was barricaded with murder suspect Qaiunt Kelley, 27, who escaped and was arrested

Brett Rosenau, 15, pictured here, ran into a house with a murder suspect and was barricaded there for hours before the house caught fire and he died

Brett Rosenau, 15, pictured here, ran into a house with a murder suspect and was barricaded there for hours before the house caught fire and he died

The family Brett Rosenau, 15, who died in a fire after a confrontation with the police, tries to raise money for his funeral

The family Brett Rosenau, 15, who died in a fire after a confrontation with the police, tries to raise money for his funeral

Additionally, Kelley is allegedly involved in an armed robbery that is being investigated by local and federal authorities.

It’s unclear how Kelley knew the teenager, but when cops arrived at the home, the two fled into the house, police said.

Investigators then found a gun in the car Kelley drove home and the motorcycle he was working on outside the building was stolen, Albuquerque police say.

The SWAT team used negotiators, drones, a robot with “active powder irritants” to get them out. Police also used a public address system and placed a phone inside the house to coax the boy and the suspect. Neither of them picked up the phone.

Bizarrely, Kelley momentarily opened the backdoor and lay on his back as the cops attempted to drag him out, but he was uncooperative. He eventually sat down and police attempted to use a “sound flash diversion device” to coerce the suspect out, police said.

The device was a “Flameless Tri-Chamber” tear gas canister, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Qaiunt Kelley, 27, was wanted for questioning in connection with a homicide and shooting involving police.  He was also wanted on outstanding warrants for a parole violation.

Qaiunt Kelley, 27, was wanted for questioning in connection with a homicide and shooting involving police. He was also wanted on outstanding warrants for a parole violation.

Flames erupt from an Albuquerque home where suspect Qaiunt Kelley, 27, and Brett Rosenau, 15, were barricaded from police.  Kelley escaped and was arrested, but the teenager died in the fire

Flames erupt from an Albuquerque home where suspect Qaiunt Kelley, 27, and Brett Rosenau, 15, were barricaded from police. Kelley escaped and was arrested, but the teenager died in the fire

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said the department has been using the same type of ammunition for years without it causing a fire.  He vowed to stop using them if they were found to be the cause of the fire that killed a 15-year-old boy.

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said the department has been using the same type of ammunition for years without it causing a fire. He vowed to stop using them if they were found to be the cause of the fire that killed a 15-year-old boy.

An Albuquerque police officer holds ammunition that was fired at a home where a teenager and a murder suspect were barricaded.  The teenager died after the house caught fire

An Albuquerque police officer holds ammunition that was fired at a home where a teenager and a murder suspect were barricaded. The teenager died after the house caught fire

It backfired and Kelley went back inside.

At around 3 a.m. Thursday, police noticed a fire coming out of the house and video taken by neighbors showed bright red flames shooting 30 feet through the roof of the house.

It wasn’t until the fire department was called to put out the blaze that Kelley emerged with burns.

He was taken to hospital and then arrested under outstanding warrants. He refused to answer detectives’ questions, according to cops.

Rosenau was found dead inside.

Albuquerque police tried to negotiate with Qaiunt Kelley, 27, wanted for parole violation, for several hours before firing ammunition into the house where he was barricaded.  A teenager died after the house caught fire.  Kelley survived with burns and was arrested

Albuquerque police tried to negotiate with Qaiunt Kelley, 27, wanted for parole violation, for several hours before firing ammunition into the house where he was barricaded. A teenager died after the house caught fire. Kelley survived with burns and was arrested

Police used drones, robots, a hostage negotiator and ammunition to coax suspect Qaiunt Kelley and Brett Rosenau, 15, out of a house where they were barricaded

Police used drones, robots, a hostage negotiator and ammunition to coax suspect Qaiunt Kelley and Brett Rosenau, 15, out of a house where they were barricaded

“In our efforts to track down and arrest a violent criminal, a youth tragically lost his life,” said Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina.

“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 his death, we will take steps to make sure it never happens again. I have asked our Victim Services Unit to work with the family and provide support during this painful time.

Medina said the department had used the flash-bang munitions for years and had never seen them cause a fire.

“We’ve heard it’s possible these could start fires, but we’ve never experienced that here,” he said.

Rosenau’s relatives said they were shocked that he was involved in the incident. They created a crowdfunding page on GoGetFunding to pay for his funeral.

“Although the full facts and circumstances are not known, I know that Brett was not involved in the SWAT situation where he succumbed to his injuries from severe burns and smoke inhalation. Brett was only 15, and it was far from planned,’ his mother wrote on the donations page.

“I was mentally, physically, emotionally and financially unprepared for the phone call I received this morning. As a mother, you never imagine that you would attend your child’s funeral,” she said.

The Albuquerque Police Department is currently under federal oversight under an agreement with the Department of Justice after a history of excessive force against its citizens.

Rosenau’s death is being investigated by a multi-agency task force, cops said. They promised to release body camera, drone and robot footage of the incident.

The teenager’s death sparked protests from Albuquerque residents who demonstrated outside the University of New Mexico holding “Black Lives Matter” banners.

Rosenau's death sparked protests.  The Albuquerque Police Department has been under federal surveillance for several years due to excessive force violations

Rosenau’s death sparked protests. The Albuquerque Police Department has been under federal surveillance for several years due to excessive force violations

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