Police: 2 dead, including Balloon Fiesta official. after Bernalillo officer-involved shooting | KOB 4

Police: 2 dead, including Balloon Fiesta official. after Bernalillo officer-involved shooting

David Lynch, Marian Camacho and Casey Torres
September 05, 2018 05:41 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico State Police investigators are working to find out more about the circumstances surrounding an officer-involved shooting that unfolded at a Bernalillo campground Monday evening and has left two men dead. 


One of those men, Mike La Plante, was a longtime launch director at the Balloon Fiesta, according to event officials.

According to NMSP officials, officers with the Bernalillo Police Department responded to KOA Campground off South Hill Road after receiving calls of a shooting inside a trailer. When they arrived, 70-year-old Fernand Lete emerged, armed with a revolver, at which point a BPD officer fired an unknown number of shots.

It's unknown if Lete was struck by that gunfire, but he then barricaded himself in the trailer. NMSP units who were later called in to assist were able to utilize some kind of equipment "to view the inside of the camp trailer and observed what appeared to be two deceased male subjects inside."

When authorities entered, they found that Lete was suffering from gunshot wounds, and he later died. The body of another victim, Michael LaPlante, 55, was also discovered inside with gunshot wounds.

The whole affair was a frightening Labor Day experience for other campers at the KOA, including Lisa Stoner. 

"My sister and I were sitting in the back of our trailer doing crafts, and I heard five really fast bangs," she said. "When I realized that was not a firework (and) it was gunfire, I got everybody on the floor of our trailer, called 911 (and) let them know what was going on."

Stoner said her family heard the gunshots around 6:30 p.m. When police showed up, they told them to stay put in their trailers. 

After about 45 minutes, a police officer "in full tactical gear" told them to evacuate.

Another camper in town to visit family, Scott Snyder, told KOB he heard multiple flash bangs throughout the evening as authorities worked to get Lete to come out of his trailer. 

A revolver was reportedly found near Lete's body, NMSP says. It's unclear in the early going if Lete's wounds are self-inflicted or if he was on the receiving end of gunfire from the BPD officer. 

This is a developing story. Check back with KOB.com for updates.


David Lynch, Marian Camacho and Casey Torres

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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