VALENCIA COUNTY — The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was called Friday to investigate an officer involved shooting involving the New Mexico State Police (NMSP) and the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO).
NMSP Investigation’s Bureau agents learned that at about 3 p.m., Sept. 3, 2021. VCSO deputies were dispatched to New Mexico State Road 6 (N.M. 6) around mile marker 19 for a suspicious vehicle.
When deputies arrived, they encountered a Honda Civic. At some point during the encounter, a male suspect fired at the deputy who was struck by gunfire. The suspect then fled the area in a white Dodge pickup.
The deputy radioed the incident to dispatch and a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) was aired for the Dodge truck. Additional VCSO deputies quickly located the Dodge and engaged it in a pursuit east on N.M. 6 through Los Lunas.
NMSP units in the area heard the radio traffic and assisted in the pursuit. The suspect vehicle turned onto N.M. 314. The suspect vehicle crashed near the railroad tracks at N.M. 314 and Davila Road. At that point a male suspect exited the Dodge and began to fire gunshots at VCSO deputies.
At that location, two VCSO deputies discharged their duty weapons at the suspect. During the exchange, a VCSO deputy was struck with shrapnel. A NMSP officer also discharged his duty weapon. During the exchange of gunfire, the suspect was struck and died at the scene.
The names of the officer and deputies involved will not be released until after they have been interviewed. The NMSP officer was placed on standard administrative leave. The suspect will not be identified until after his family is properly notified.
The NMSP Investigations Bureau agents are working to independently determine the series of events leading to the shooting, including collecting evidence and conducting interviews. Throughout the process, investigative findings will be shared with the district attorney for review and consideration. The New Mexico State Police acts solely as factfinders in its cases and does not determine whether the actions of an officer were justified in these types of matters. That decision rests with the district attorney’s office.
This incident remains under investigation by the NMSP Investigations Bureau. When more information is available it will be released.