LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – Las Cruces Police held a news conference Wednesday afternoon updating the community on the circumstances surrounding Tuesday night’s officer-involved shooting.
During the news conference, officials with Las Cruces PD could not provide much information as the investigation is ongoing but they were able to release the status of the officer.
The Las Cruces Police Chief, Miguel Dominguez, shared that a call came into dispatch after a report of shoplifting at a convenience store on South Valley Dr. That is where a man took beer without paying then parked near the fuel pumps.
One officer arrived on the scene and interviewed the suspect and witnesses. It was learned that his identity could not be confirmed by central dispatch.
Once a second officer arrived both approached the vehicle to ask the suspect to exit to which they say that he was verbally and physically resisting the officer’s commands. At some point the suspect got out of the vehicle and the confrontation became physical; it was then that one of the officers shot at least one round, hitting the suspect who then died at the scene.
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Chief Dominguez made it plain that the suspect did not follow orders and that is why the altercation escalated.
“The suspect had several opportunities to cooperate with the investigation and comply with the officers unfortunately he chose a different path on this date.”
Dominguez added that one of the officers involved was injured and taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the complete investigation which is standard protocol.
Dominguez also made it known that this is a very troubling time for his officers with the rising crime in the city and has put his force on alert
“We’re very concerned about our officer’s safety we constantly tell them to watch out for each other watch each other’s backs we try to get multiple officers to scenes where there might be some sort of disorderly subject but were but were very concerned with the amount of violence that’s going on with the city right now.”
They are unable to release the suspect’s identity right now as they need to inform his next of kin but he is not to be believed to be from Las Cruces or Dona Ana County.