ESPAÑOLA, N.M. - For the second time this week an officer with the New Mexico State Police has been shot in the line of duty.
In both cases, the suspects are dead and the officers are expected to recover. State Police Chief Pete Kassetas told KRQE News 13 that it has been a difficult week for the department.
“This has been a very trying and taxing week for not only State Police but the whole DPS community," Kassetas said. "It affects everybody,
“Two in a week’s span. It's impacting."
The first shooting happened Monday morning on U.S. Highway 285 south of Roswell where a State Police traffic stop led to car chase that ended in a gunfight.
The suspect in that shooting, a recently released bank robber, was killed. State Police Sgt. Lawrence Murray, a 21-year-veteran was shot in the leg. He's since been treated and released.
“He's got some recovery to do,” said Chief Kassetas.
A Roswell police officer directing traffic after the shootout suffered critical injuries when a commercial truck plowed into stopped traffic and shove a car into the officer. A woman from Lake Arthur stopped in traffic died in the crash.
The second shooting happened Thursday night in northern New Mexico. State Police say one of their officers working with the Investigations Bureau was shot as a team was looking for a man at the Los Lomas Apartments off North Riverside Drive in Española.
The man they were looking for, Rogelio Cisneros-Chavez, 22, was accused of stealing thousands from his family and also had a misdemeanor warrant for failing to appearing in court on a charge of criminal damage to property. State Police got a tip Cisneros was hiding out in the apartment at the complex.
“(State Police officers) announced and made entry and subsequently engaged in a gun battle with the suspect,” said Kassetas.
State Police said officers were allowed into the apartment by a woman who lives there. Witnesses described hearing multiple gunshots.
“First shot you hear, after that is like seven other gunshots ,” said Andrew Martinez, who lives directly below the apartment where the gunfire happened.
State Police says it’s still investigating who shot first. The suspect was killed.
A nine-year veteran State Police officer was shot in the stomach, according to Kassetas. That officer had emergency surgery for the gunshot would Thursday night and is expected to recover. The officer’s name has yet to be released.
“I met with him, and he acknowledged me and knew who was I was, and that's a great sign,” the chief said.
While danger is a part of the job, Kassetas acknowledged it’s still a tough situation to deal with.
“But we work through it, we push on 'cause that's what we do,” Kassetas said.
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