The Las Cruces Police Department and the Dona Ana County Officer-involved Incident Task Force are investigating an incident that led to the death of a man who is suspected of firing at least one round at officers.
Shortly before 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 9, a Las Cruces Police Department officer initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle near the intersection of 5th Street and Wilson Avenue. Preliminary investigation indicates that during the traffic stop the vehicle came to an abrupt stop and the driver, a male, immediately opened fire, shooting at least one round at the officers in the two-man police unit. Both officers returned fire at the subject who then fled, leading to a short vehicle pursuit that terminated a short distance away on 4th Street and Davis Avenue.
The subject did not comply with officers’ commands to surrender leading to the activation of Las Cruces Police and New Mexico State Police SWAT teams for the incident. The Las Cruces Police Department’s Hostage Negotiation Team also responded to communicate with the subject in an effort to gain his compliance and peaceful surrender to authorities. The subject did not comply with commands to surrender and after remaining barricaded in his vehicle for more than two hours, the subject ended communications with negotiators.
A chemical agent was introduced into the suspect vehicle in a further effort to gain the subject’s compliance and surrender. The subject exited his vehicle and then appeared to reach back into his vehicle at which time several officers responded by firing multiple rounds, striking the subject. Medical attention was rendered to the subject however he was declared deceased at the scene. Investigators located a handgun in the area that the subject was reaching.
A civilian who was wounded during the incident was taken to University Medical Center in El Paso for treatment of a gunshot wound—he is in stable condition.
The multi-agency task force investigating the incident is comprised of the New Mexico State Police, Las Cruces Police Department, Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office, and New Mexico State University Police.
Witnesses or anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Las Cruces Police Department at (575) 526-0795.