FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Officers from the Farmington Police Department in northwestern New Mexico shot and killed a homeowner when they showed up at the wrong address to respond to a domestic violence call, state police investigators said.
The attack took place around 11:30 pm on Wednesday. New Mexico State Police released more details late Thursday, and Farmington police confirmed Friday that the three officers involved are on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
The officers were not immediately identified and it was not immediately clear what administrative action might be taken.
Body camera footage reviewed by state police shows the homeowner armed with a handgun and opening the screen door, and that’s when officers retreated and opened fire. Unaware of who was outside, the man’s wife returned fire from the door and officers fired again.
State police said the woman put down her gun after realizing the men outside her home were police officers.
Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebe said on social media that the incident was chaotic and more information will be released next week. He called it a dark day for the police force and the homeowner’s family, identified as Robert Dotson.
“What I can tell you as the boss is that this is a very horrific incident and I am heartbroken by the circumstances surrounding it,” he said. “… This ending is unbelievably sad. I am very sorry that we are in this position.
The case comes amid a crackdown by law enforcement across the country. Most recently, the US Department of Justice He opened a civil rights investigation A US Park Police officer in Washington shot and killed a 17-year-old boy who was driving with police in the back seat after he was found asleep in a stolen car.
In Farmington, the officers initially knocked on the front door of the wrong home and identified themselves as police. When they did not get an answer, they asked dispatchers to return the reporter’s body and bring him to the entrance gate.
Dotson, 52, was pronounced dead at the scene.
When asked about the initial report of a domestic assault across the street, Farmington police spokeswoman Shanice Gonzalez said no action was taken against any party in the case and no one was armed at that address.
The attack is under investigation. The State Police Bureau of Investigation said any findings will be shared with the district attorney for further review.