LA CUEVA, N.M. (KRQE) - Did the Sandoval County Sheriff's Department properly inform itsofficers that the 'Cookie Bandit' was armed and dangerous?
That's a question being raised after a report surfaced,indicating that the department knew the bandit, Joseph Burgess,shot at one of their own last winter.
Jemez Pueblo's Chief of Police Karl Wiese said he's angry aboutthe death of Sgt. Joe Harris.
"This thing was botched from the get-go," Wiese said. "JoeHarris was my friend. The last seconds of this incident, he reactedand died a hero. But, he didn't have to die."
Wiese said he never saw the report from the Sandoval CountySheriff's Department, which documented an incident where Burgessshot a reserve deputy in the chest.
Luckily, Reserve Deputy Luke Dienlin was wearing body armor.
"I'm really upset that we were never informed about this,because potentially either me or my officers and any other officersworking this area, could have been put in danger," Wiese said.
Wiese said he wonders if Harris or his partner ever saw thereport. Neither was wearing a bulletproof vest during the stakeoutand they had no backup.
Undersheriff Tim Lucero with Sandoval County Sheriff'sDepartment would not grant News 13 an interview, saying only "nocomment."
Sandoval County Sheriff John Paul Trujillo didn't return callsseeking comment on Friday. However, he said on Thursday that hedidn't know a lot about the shooting, but suggested that Dienlinwas not shot at; rather he may have been hit by a stray bullet froma hunter.
Trujillo said investigators could never tie the Cookie Bandit tothe incident. Yet, the incident report clearly names "The CookieBandit" and goes into great detail about why Dienlin was trackinghim.
News 13 has learned that Dienlin, who some describe as a parttime bounty hunter, was not a certified police officer and in facthad no police powers.
It's uncertain whether the sheriff's department knew if Dienlinwas tracking the Cookie Bandit that night.
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