Updated as of 10/7/2022 at 10:00 a.m. ET
A 15-year-old boy died in a house fire after an Albuquerque SWAT team launched munition into the home while going after an adult suspect, per New York Daily News. According to his autopsy report, his death was ruled a homicide despite officials’ statements insisting it was an accident.
The report says police were looking for Qiaunt Kelley, 27, who was wanted for violating probation for an armed carjacking and stolen vehicle charge. Kelley fled to a home where 15-year-old Brett Rosenau later walked into. Authorities said they tried for “several hours” to get the two to leave the house until they resorted to using flash bang devices releasing powder irritants to bait them out. These measures sparked a fire causing the house to go up in flames.
The suspect eventually surrendered, but Brett never made it out. His autopsy says he died of smoke inhalation and severe burns. His manner of death was ruled a homicide.
More on the autopsy report from Albuquerque Journal:
The state Office of the Medical Investigator determined Brett Rosenau was alive when the house he was in caught fire on July 7, according to a recently released autopsy report that revealed soot in his lungs, burns across 95% of his body and high levels of carbon monoxide in his system.
The autopsy said a contributing factor was “toxic effects of cocaine,” but the level was lower than those seen in intoxicated drivers and three times lower than that seen in cocaine-related emergency room visits.
“Given the circumstances, cocaine could have both impaired decision-making and increased the body’s need for oxygen, contributing to the cause of death,” according to the autopsy.
Following the shooting, ADP said Rosenau was a suspect in a nonfatal shooting days before the incident. However, it seems the officers are the suspects in this case given the outcome of the autopsy. Rosenau’s family attorney plans to file a wrongful death suit against the city and county.
Residents of the home told KOB 4 News they also believe the officer’s detonating device is what sparked the fire. As a result, they lost their home. The Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina said an investigation has been launched to look into what caused the fire. The Attorney General’s Office is also conducting an independent investigation.
“I know many people in our community are hurting right now… If any of our actions inadvertently contributed to his death, we will take steps to ensure this never happens again,” Medina said in a statement, via NY Daily News.