A Roswell Police Department officer who was checking on a stolen vehicle parked in front of a local motel in north Roswell in the early-morning hours of Wednesday, Feb. 15, was shot at by a man who claimed the car was his, but then fled on foot.
The officer – who was not struck by the suspect’s multiple shots – returned fire with multiple shots, striking the suspect twice, once in the shoulder area and once in a leg, causing the suspect to collapse on the sidewalk of a street (East Berrendo Road) bordering the motel property. Another officer arrived and gave repeated commands to the suspect to give up his gun. The suspect instead put the gun to his own head and fired a shot. Emergency medical personnel were called in and determined the suspect was alive and transported him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
The identity of the 30-year-old deceased suspect will be released once next-of-kin notification has taken place. The suspect is not from Roswell.
The incident occurred shortly before 2 a.m. Feb. 15. The suspect was inside the Motel 6 building in the 3300 block of North Main Street when the officer approached the car, which the officer had determined to be reported as stolen out of Albuquerque. The suspect, wearing a security-guard uniform that investigators believe did not belong to him, exited the building, walked up to the officer standing behind the stolen car, spoke briefly with the officer and then started to walk away. When the officer told him to remain where he was, the suspect started to run away and the officer pursued him. While running, the suspect pulled out a gun and fired at the officer, who took cover behind a parked pickup truck and returned fire, leading to the suspect’s collapse on the nearby sidewalk.
A passenger, believed to be female, was seen by the officer in the stolen car while it was parked outside the motel’s front door where the officer encountered it. That subject disappeared during the foot pursuit and shooting involving the male suspect and officer.
A joint investigatory team involving RPD, Chaves County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police is conducting the investigation into this incident, as is standard protocol for any shooting involving an RPD officer. The two involved officers (the one who fired his weapon, as well as the one who arrived soon after to find the suspect on the sidewalk) have been placed on administrative leave, another part of standard protocol following such an incident.