FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – The Farmington community is shaken up. The worries come after police mistakenly showed up at the wrong house and shot the homeowner to death.
“It boggles my mind how something like that occurred when there were more than one person involved. It wasn’t just one person’s mistake, unfortunately,” said Amberly Aranda, a neighbor in the area. “It’s a huge tragedy. My heart goes out to the Dotson family. This hit just a little too close to home.”
There’s confusion and heartbreak as the Farmington community tries to make sense of what led to a fatal mix-up Wednesday night.
“It shook the whole neighborhood,” said Aranda.
According to State Police, Farmington Police got a domestic violence call around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night. Instead of showing up at the correct address, 5308 Valley View Avenue, officers showed up at a house across the street, 5305 Valley View Avenue.
State Police said Farmington police officers announced who they were and backed away from the door. Police claimed that’s when the homeowner, 52-year-old Robert Dotson, opened the door with a gun. At least one officer shot and killed him.
“Our son woke us up. Our whole house was lit up with lights and, of course, he was startled,” said Aranda.
Police said Dotson’s wife then came into the doorway and shot toward officers, and officers fired back. They reported, once she realized it was the police at the door, she put the gun down.
“It could’ve been any of us. I’m not to say, that you know, we would’ve been doing the exact same thing trying to protect our family,” said Aranda. In a video statement, the Farmington Police Chief called it a dark day for the entire community.
“I extend nothing but my deepest condolences to the Dotson family. There’s nothing I can say that will make this better. It’s a terrible event, and I’m heartbroken over it,” said Chief Steve Hebbe.
“We’ve lived in the area for over 20 years, [and we] never experienced anything like this. So, of course, it was very scary,” said Aranda.
Farmington Police confirmed the officers involved are now on paid leave as State Police investigate exactly what happened and as the community tries to heal.
“It goes on further than just an innocent person dying from it. That family is now traumatized and going to be dealing with something for the rest of their lives,” said Aranda.
Farmington Police said it will release the body camera footage from the fatal shooting in the coming days.