The Bernalillo Police Department (BPD) asked the New Mexico State Police Sept. 3 to investigate a police shooting involving one of their officers.
The New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau is investigating this shooting.
Preliminary information indicates around 6:30 p.m., Sept. 3, two BPD officers were dispatched to a shots-fired call at the KOA Campground at 555 South Hill Road in Bernalillo. Officers were given limited information from 911 calls that Fernand “Fred” Lete, 70, of Rio Rancho had shot another male subject inside a camp trailer at the campground and that both the victim and Lete remained inside the camp trailer.
When the officers arrived at the camp trailer and announced their presence, Lete opened the door and was armed with a revolver. BPD Ofc. Thomas Carter, an 8-year veteran of the department, stated in a later interview he observed Lete brandish a chrome handgun and point it directly at the other officer as they were outside the trailer. Ofc. Carter believed their lives were in jeopardy, so he shot multiple times at Lete. Lete subsequently returned inside the camp trailer and barricaded himself.
The officers backed away from the trailer for safety and then heard a single gunshot from within the trailer. Surrounding law enforcement agencies were called to assist and a perimeter was set up around the location. Responding State Police tactical units utilized equipment to view the inside of the camp trailer and observed what appeared to be two deceased male subjects inside.
Officers made entry into the camp trailer and discovered Lete unresponsive from an apparent gunshot wound. EMS was contacted but Lete succumbed to injuries and died on scene. A subsequent autopsy indicated Lete’s cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound/suicide. A .38 caliber revolver was found inside the camp trailer near Lete’s possession.
LaPlante was discovered by officers deceased of apparent gunshot wounds. The investigation and autopsy revealed none of the rounds fired by Ofc. Carter struck either Lete or LaPlante and that LaPlante was shot to death by Lete.
Further investigation into LaPlante’s homicide revealed that LaPlante was in a relationship with Lete’s estranged wife. Around 6:30 p.m. that night, Lete called his wife and told her he had shot LaPlante. The wife heard LaPlante yelling in the background that he had been shot by Lete. She then overheard several more gunshots and the phone line was disconnected. The wife then called 911, prompting the officers’ response.
This incident remains under investigation. Upon completion, this case will be forwarded to an assigned district attorney’s office for review. No further information is available.