Grand jury indicts New Mexico police officer on voluntary manslaughter charge

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A grand jury indicted a New Mexico police officer accused of voluntary manslaughter for allegedly shooting a man in the back of the head.

Last month, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez announced the charge of voluntary manslaughter with a firearm enhancement against Las Cruces Police Officer Brad Lunsford. Lunsford is accused of killing Presley Eze in August 2022.

It all started when a gas station attendant called 911 after a man reportedly left without paying for a beer. Lunsford was the first on the scene and began questioning Eze about what happened.

After Lunsford and another officer were unable to verify Eze’s identity, they forced him out of a car to detain him.

Eze was unarmed and shirtless. He then resisted the officers’ attempt to take him into custody.

During the scuffle, Eze gets his hands on the second officer’s taser. A second later, Lunsford pulls out his gun and shoots Eze in the back of the head, killing him.

“We determined that criminal charges were justified in this context,” Torrez said, also saying Eze never used that taser.

Lunsford surrendered to agents from the Office of the Attorney General and was taken into custody. Torrez says his office will not attempt to keep him in jail until trial.

A trial date hasn’t been set for Lunsford.