Las Cruces police and the Officer-involved Incident Task Force are continuing to investigate Tuesday’s shooting on south Valley Drive that resulted in the death of a 36-year-old man.
About 4:20 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, a Las Cruces police officer responded to the report of a shoplifting in progress at the Chevron gas station at 2645 S. Valley Dr. Preliminary information from the investigation indicates a man took beer from the store without paying. The suspect then entered a vehicle parked under the canopy near the fuel pumps.
One LCPD officer initially arrived on scene and was in the process of interviewing witnesses and the suspect. It’s been learned the suspect was evasive and provided information about his identity that could not be confirmed by the officer through Central Dispatch.
A second officer arrived, and both approached the vehicle and asked the suspect to exit. The suspect was verbally and physical resistive to multiple commands by the officers.
The investigation has revealed that, at some point, the suspect exited the vehicle and became physically combative with both officers. The altercation became physically violent and one of the officers discharged at least one round that struck the suspect. The suspect died at the scene.
Police are not releasing the suspect’s name at this time as investigators have yet to locate and notify his next of kin. He is not believed to be a resident of Las Cruces or Dona Ana County.
One of the officers involved in the confrontation was injured during the altercation and received medical attention at a local hospital. His injuries are not life-threatening. As is standard protocol, both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending further investigation.
The Officer-involved Incident Task Force includes investigators from New Mexico State Police, the Las Cruces Police Department, Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State University Police Department. Once the investigation is completed, findings are presented to the Third Judicial District Attorney’s office.