LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – After protesters called for more transparency in the recent deadly shooting of a black man by state police, police have released a video of the encounter. State police said they tried to pull over Rodney Applewhite in Los Lunas, but he led them on a chase. They said it was when they finally caught up to him and were trying to arrest him, he reached for a sergeant’s gun and another officer opened fire.
On Nov. 19, State Police spotted a grey Chrysler being driven by Rodney Applewhite from South Bend, Indiana, going about 93 in a 45 on the Manzano Expressway in Los Lunas. The car pulls over, but seconds later, Applewhite takes off. Weaving in and out of traffic, nearly hitting a box truck head on while driving on the opposite side of the road.
Police were then notified of a man standing in the middle of the road next to the grey Chrysler. When officers arrived, Applewhite was on the ground, with his hands up outside of his car.
“I don’t know what I did,” said Applewhite.
“You were going 90,” said Officer Gene Gonzales. “The reason, the reason why- go ahead and stand up dude.”
Soon after, things took a turn.
“We need you to get down sir so we can put you in cuffs safely,” said Ofc. Gonzales.
“(Inaudible) so we can cuff you up,” said a second officer.
“Safely,” said Ofc. Gonzales.
“Back up,” said the second officer.
“Serg, can I borrow your taser,” asked Ofc. Gonzales.
“Can you stay back and just help me,” asked Applewhite.
“Okay cool,” said Ofc. Gonzales. “Come over here though.”
“Turn around though,” said the second officer.
“Hey, look it, look it, look it, look it, look it,” said Ofc. Gonzales.
“Turn around,” said the second officer.
Applewhite said something inaudible.
“Why are you running dude,” asked Ofc. Gonzales.
“Because uh-,” said Applewhite.
Then, there was a scuffle between Applewhite and the second officer. Officer Gonzales fires two shots, hitting Applewhite.
“Sir, don’t move please,” said Ofc. Gonzales.
“Can you finish me please,” asked Applewhite.
“No, no,” said Ofc. Gonzales.
State Pollice said in a press release: “Fearing for the sergeant’s life, New Mexico State Police Officer Gene Gonzales drew his duty weapon and fired two rounds in an attempt to stop the attack on the sergeant.”
Applewhite later died at an Albuquerque hospital. The shooting has been the focus of recent protests from civil rights groups, demanding more transparency. They said Applewhite was passing through New Mexico on the way to Arizona to spend Thanksgiving with his family.
“We’re gonna [sic] get you an ambulance,” said Ofc. Gonzales.
“It hurts so bad, man,” said Applewhite.
“I know, man,” said Ofc. Gonzales. “Sorry dude, hey- why did you go for the gun?”
“Because I thought that’s what you’re supposed to do,” said Applewhite.
“No dude,” said Ofc. Gonzales. “You’re supposed to just get arrested bro.”
Earlier that day, the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call about a burglary in Belen. A woman said a man walked in asking if it was his house in Indiana. She replied “no,” and he left. Police said that man and his car matched Applewhite’s description.
Officer Gonzales has been with State Police for more than 12 years. He’s now on standard administrative leave. The shooting is still under investigation.
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