MCKINLEY COUNTY — The New Mexico State Police (NMSP) Investigations Bureau was called to investigate an officer-involved shooting April 16 on Interstate 40, milepost 64, near Prewitt, N.M. involving a NMSP officer.
Agents learned that at around 11:56 a.m. Saturday, April 16, NMSP Ofc. Corey Newman was dispatched to Interstate 40, milepost 64, for a welfare check on a male slumped over the steering wheel of a brown BMW passenger car.
The officer arrived and made contact with the male, who was later identified as Oliver Ashley Toledo Saldivar, 26, of North Carolina. Unbeknownst to the officer, Saldivar was the suspect in a homicide that occurred April 12 in Durham, N.C.
As the officer approached the vehicle, Saldivar got out of the vehicle and locked the doors. The officer asked Saldivar to stand on the passenger side of his marked patrol vehicle while he got some information. Saldivar walked over to the officer’s patrol unit and then reached for a black object that he had concealed in his jacket pocket. The officer immediately created distance and drew his duty weapon, but Saldivar charged the officer and tackled him.
During the attack, the officer fired at least one shot from his duty weapon striking Saldivar. After the gunshot was fired Saldivar continued to fight the officer and tried to grab the officer’s gun. As the two struggled, Saldivar bit the back of the officer’s arm. At this point, Saldivar had managed to retrieve a gun from his jacket. He was holding the gun in his hand, attempting to chamber a round into the weapon. Ofc. Newman wrestled the suspect’s gun away from him and threw it to the side.
A passing semi-truck driver saw Saldivar fighting with Ofc. Newman and stopped to assist. The Good Samaritan trucker observed the suspect’s gun on the ground, threw it out of his reach, and helped the officer take him into custody. Once the suspect was in custody the officer called for an ambulance and medical aid was rendered to Saldivar.
Saldivar succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Office of the Medical Investigator. Ofc. Newman suffered bite injuries to the back of his left arm. He was placed on standard administrative leave. Ofc. Newman has four years of law enforcement experience with the NMSP.
The NMSP Investigations Bureau agents work to independently determine the series of events leading to the shooting, including collecting evidence and conducting interviews. Throughout the process, investigative findings are shared with the district attorney for their review and consideration.
The NMSP 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.