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State police officer shot in Farmington, suspect dead; 2 others arrested

David Lynch and Meg Hilling
August 28, 2017 06:02 AM

FARMINGTON, N.M. – A state police officer was injured and a suspect shot dead following a traffic stop that turned deadly Sunday morning near Main and Largo in Farmington. Two others were arrested.

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New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said at a press conference Sunday afternoon that a San Juan County deputy, with help from an NMSP officer, stopped a truck that had three people in it after connecting the vehicle with an earlier theft of a trailer.

The officer and deputy were in the process of arresting the passengers when one of them, William Wilson, shot at the NMSP officer, Kassetas said. The officer returned fire along with the deputy, and Wilson was killed. 

Kassetas said that the officer, whose identification is not being released at this time, is on standard leave after being treated at the hospital for minor injuries. 

San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen criticized the judicial method of "catch-and-release" at the press conference, saying that it's an irresponsible decision that leads to dangerous situations for police and citizens. He said two of the suspects in the vehicle had extensive criminal histories.

"This has been a problem in New Mexico and we keep going backwards," Christesen said. "They're putting dangerous criminals back on the streets. As citizens of this state and this county, they should be outraged that this happened. It infuriates every law enforcement officer."

He went on to call on lawmakers to "put a stop to this nonsense of catch-and-release."

"If they're going to shoot and try to murder a state police officer, what are they going to do with someone else out there that's not a police officer?" Kassetas added. "We never want to see a life lost, but at the end of the day it's about choices."

State police is leading further investigation into the shooting. 

Credits

David Lynch and Meg Hilling

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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