LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – New video shows the moments after a Las Cruces Police Officer shot and killed a 75-year-old woman said to be armed with knives in her home.
Woman: Can you tell me that’s not her in there?
Officer: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for your loss. But they’re going to go ahead and take her, ok?
A family was left grieving the loss of 75-year-old Amelia Baca after a 911 call for help turned deadly on April 16th. Las Cruces Police Officers said they were dispatched to a behavioral health call after a relative said Baca was armed with knives and threatening to kill the family.
Officer: He states he’s asleep, his wife runs into the room. He and his daughter are in there. The wife runs into the room screaming, locks the door, screaming that her mom is trying to kill her…he stands up and sees what’s a long butcher knife, stabbing under the door.
Officers said the family, including a five-year-old girl, jumped out a window to escape. During that time, Baca’s granddaughter, Albitar Inoh, came over to help. Her grandma, who the family said may have dementia, was holding knives in the house when a Las Cruces Police Officer shows up shortly after the granddaughter.
Albitar Inoh: She was standing looking at us, with her knives down, not pointing, both of them in her hand and they were both sharp blades towards each other.
Police said Baca didn’t obey commands to drop the knives. Inoh, who said Baca didn’t know English, was standing there looking confused.
Albitar Inoh: I don’t know how many times I yelled at him don’t shoot her. She’s mentally ill.
Inoh said she and her mom were right next to the officer, while another officer came and tried to push them back. She said she thought the officer was pointing a taser at her grandma until she heard two gunshots.
Albitar Inoh: It looked like a taser….it’s an old woman, an old woman. So, I thought maybe taser. So, I was trying to call my mom down, mom it’s, it’s a taser. Calm down, calm down mom, she’s going to be fine it’s a taser.
Albitar Inoh: I didn’t push him I didn’t touch him. I was standing next to him….asking him don’t shoot her, she’s mentally ill…letting him know like she’s not a danger… letting him know she’s mentally ill. You guys should have training on how to deal with mentally ill people.
A different officer who responded explained what he saw.
Officer: As I’m walking up to him, I hear the two gunshots and I see a female fall to the floor. And the knife in her hand as she hits the floor, the knife falls out of her hands next to her.
Police tried to render aid but Baca died on the scene. Her family is left with questions.
Albitar Inoh: He wasn’t in danger. He was in no danger, no danger. At all times, every time I saw my grandma she had her knives down.
KRQE reached out to LCPD to ask why a crisis intervention team wasn’t dispatched to the behavioral health call or why an officer didn’t use a taser instead of a gun but did not hear back. The officer-involved shooting is being investigated by the Dona Ana County Officer-Involved Incident Task Force.