LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A suspect shot and killed a New Mexico State Police officer before being fatally shot on an interstate on Thursday in a shootout
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A suspect shot and killed a New Mexico State Police officer before being fatally shot on an interstate on Thursday in a shootout that was captured on video.
The suspect, who has not been identified, shot the state police officer on Interstate 10 before fleeing east. About 40 miles later, the suspect was killed in a shootout with Las Cruces police officers and Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies.
A Las Cruces police officer, who was shot during the encounter, was transported to University Medical Center in El Paso, where he is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries, according to LCPD spokesperson Dan Trujillo.
NMSP has not identified the state police officer who was killed.
I-10 was closed in both directions around the area of the shooting for much of the day, state police said.
LCPD expected the investigation to last well into Thursday night.
A video being shared widely online shows the shootout.
The video, shot by Austin Contreras, shows a Las Cruces Police unit pushing a white pickup truck on Interstate 10 east in Las Cruces. The pickup truck is facing the wrong direction in the video, making it look like it’s reversing.
Contreras was repairing a back gate near I-10 when he and his crew of four others heard sirens. As the truck came around the bend, Contreras said they could hear it hit the spike strips, but the driver still tried to go.
Police used a PIT maneuver to stop the fleeing truck, which slid down the interstate in its lane. After being pushed for several dozen yards, the vehicles stop.
The pickup truck driver and LCPD officer got out of their vehicles at about the same time. The suspect — who appears to be wearing a head covering — fires multiple rounds at the officer. The video shows the officer falling to the ground, but it’s not clear whether he’s hit by gunfire. The officer gets back to a crouched position.
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Dozens of shots are exchanged before other Las Cruces officers and deputies from the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office come on-scene and fire at the suspect.
After the suspect falls to the ground, law enforcement officers from multiple agencies surround him, pointing their firearms at him.
“It was shocking, I mean, nobody expected it to end in a gunfight,” Contreras said.
Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-N.M., first released a statement saying two NMSP officers were killed, but later sent a correction noting one death.
“I am devastated to hear a New Mexico State Police Officer was killed, and several other officers were injured, earlier today,” Herrell said. “The death of any law enforcement officer in the line of duty is a reminder of the debt we owe the brave men and women who stand in the gap to protect us from evil. My prayers go out to the officer’s family and for the recovery of the injured officers.”
Herrell’s district includes all of southern New Mexico.
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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered all flags to half-staff in the state from Friday through sundown Tuesday, Feb. 9..
“I am shocked, heartbroken and enraged by the loss of this public servant,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “I am praying for the local officer was also shot and injured.”
She added: “I join all New Mexico and the New Mexico State Police community in grieving this senseless, heinous loss.”
Follow Leah Romero on Twitter: @rromero_leah