NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexico State Police say a man who was shot and killed in early April by officers near Prewitt was a suspect in a murder in North Carolina just days earlier.

They say that just before noon on April 16, New Mexico State Police officer Corey Newman was sent on a welfare check because of a man slumped over the steering wheel of a car on I-40. When Officer Newman tried to talk with 26-year-old Oliver Ashley Saldivar, Salvidar got out of the vehicle and locked the doors. Officer Newman then asked Salvidar to stand on the passenger side of his patrol car while he got some information.

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That’s when police say Salvidar walked over to the patrol car and reached for a black object in his jacket pocket. Officer Newman drew his gun and they say Saldivar tackled him. Officer Newman fired at least one shot that hit Saldivar, who continued to fight and tried to grab the officer’s gun. They say he then bit the back of Officer Newman’s arm.

Saldivar then managed to get a gun from his pocket and was trying to load it when Newman knocked it away. A passing semi-truck driver saw the two fighting and stopped to help. Police say he threw Saldivar’s gun out of reach and helped take him into custody.

Saldivar died from his injuries on scene. Officer Newman was injured after being bit. He’s been placed on standard administrative leave. He’s been with New Mexico State Police for four years.