SILVER CITY, N.M. (KRQE) – A high ranking police officer shot and killed his girlfriend, then turned the gun on himself. Now, her family’s claim that the tragic situation could have been avoided by law enforcement is headed before a federal judge.

Initially, the family of Nikki Bascom filed a lawsuit against the Silver City Police Department for negligence, saying they ignored her calls for help.

They have now expanded the suit, saying both the police and sheriff’s departments violated her civil rights by failing to help her.

“Nikki Bascom was a bright, beautiful light, who is now gone. She was just 32 years old and had a long life ahead of her,” said Laura Schauer-Ives, the Bascom family’s attorney.

Last Spring, Bascom’s life was cut short when she was gunned down by Mark Contreras.

“Her ex-boyfriend, who was a Captain at the Silver City Police Department, kept increasing her violence towards her, they did nothing,” said Schauer-Ives.

The family says both police and Grant County deputies refused to investigate Captain Contreras because it was, “embarrassing to have an officer behaving like this.”

“They should’ve arrested him for the many many crimes he committed on the day he killed her. They should’ve arrested him for the crimes he committed before he killed her,” said Schauer-Ives.

Schauer-Ives says Captain Contreras had a long history of violence that his bosses and the sheriff’s office knew about. However, they failed to protect Bascom.

According to the lawsuit, on the day of her death, Captain Contreras blocked Bascom’s car in his police unit and took her phone from her.

“He followed her to the domestic violence shelter where she was going to seek a temporary restraining order. They still didn’t take action,” said Schauer-Ives.

A few weeks prior to that, she says he threatened to kill himself.

“They swept that information under the rug and didn’t investigate it, didn’t impact his employment at all,” said Schauer-Ives.

Despite the allegations, he was promoted to Captain right before the murder-suicide. Now, her family wants both the police and sheriff’s department to own up to their actions.

“Nikki Bascom is dead and her children don’t have her anymore as a result,” said Schauer-Ives.

News 13 reached out to the Town of Silver City, the Silver City Police Department, and the Grant County Sheriff’s Department but did not hear back.

The individuals named in the lawsuit are still employed with the police or Sheriff’s Office.

—-Send a Breaking News TipReport an error or typoLearn about the KRQE apps