Days after their son’s violent police shootout, Gabriel Petito’s parents, Michelle and John, begged for authorities to locate the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy on Friday and turn him over to them.
“I want him to be with us so we can love him. I want him to be able to hear the love and laughter of our family. I’m asking you as a community to please let law enforcement know that we are here if they need us,” Michelle said at a press conference Friday.
“We are here to give our son to justice. So the next time he’s out there we can go back and take care of him. We don’t want him to end up in a hospital. We want him to be home,” she continued.
Her son, Gabriel, 24, was shot and killed Wednesday while serving an arrest warrant at a home in northwest Albuquerque.
Authorities say there may be some links between Gabriel and alleged Red Dead Redemption 2 gunman, Nickolas Garcia, although there is no direct evidence.
Detective Aaron Smith of the Albuquerque Police Department said the department had been investigating the possibility of retaliation since Gabriel’s October 2018 shooting of Miguel Diaz, a cashier at a Walmart store.
Smith called Wednesday’s shootout a “moment of heroism” in a statement.
As previously reported, Gabriel initially went to capture Diaz on the western side of the city but found him at a home and ambushed him. As he was dragging Diaz to safety, Gabriel pulled out a gun and shot and killed Diaz.
After a brief pursuit, authorities were able to shoot Gabriel dead and arrest Garcia, 41, and another man, Marco Velez, 36.
Read the full transcript of the press conference below:
Family representative Michelle Petito asks “respectfully” for the media to stop searching for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy who shot her son. Petito said the family had spoken with Frank Traub and wanted him to call their number to turn himself in.
“I just wanted Frank to stop at a hospital and I want him to turn himself in to go tell those officers my son was murdered. Just please please please. I want him to be with us so we can love him. I want him to be able to hear the love and laughter of our family. I’m asking you as a community to please let law enforcement know that we are here if they need us. We are here to give our son to justice. So the next time he’s out there we can go back and take care of him. We don’t want him to end up in a hospital. We want him to be home.”
(Video footage and audio excerpted via The Chieftain)
Her husband, John, also spoke to the public Friday and requested that the public refrain from searching for the deputy that killed their son.
“Please let the family know that you are not searching for a deputy or a specific person. Instead just let the entire community respect the family’s wishes. Just let the family have some privacy. Put down the phones.”
In a video posted to the family’s Facebook page Saturday, Petito called his son a “fool for officers.”
The family asked the public to support APD in the future and trust police officers to police their own community.
“If anything like this can happen to me it can happen to any family in this city,” Michelle Petito said.
Abel Mejia and Stan Gutierrez contributed to this report.
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