Lapel video shows Farmington police fatally shoot man after approaching wrong home

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FARMINGTON, N.M. — Authorities have released body camera video showing the night officers shot and killed a man after going to the wrong house for a domestic violence call.

In a news conference Friday, the Farmington Police Department Chief Steve Hebbe apologized and said he can’t explain what went wrong – why the officers were at the wrong house.

The videos show 52-year-old Robert Dotson answering his own door in the middle of the night, and drawing his gun. This came after officers announced themselves three times over a two-and-a-half-minute time period.

It’s not clear Dotson ever heard police say who they were.

In the body camera video, the officers can also be heard discussing whether they have the correct address.

Chief Hebbe said the department has been working to better understand what happened.

“That’s the worst part of this for us, is trying to explain that,” Hebbe said. “I can’t give you that explanation right now. That is part of the interviews, and that’s what the State Police will be looking at.”

All three officers fired their weapons.

Two of the officers have been with the department for about five years. The third officer has been with the department for about three years. The three officers are all reportedly on paid administrative leave.

Dotson’s family, accompanied by their attorney, reviewed the video footage at the San Juan County District Attorney’s Office prior to its public release.


The Farmington Police Department was dispatched to a home on Valley View Avenue on April 5.

According to New Mexico State Police, Farmington police officers mistakenly approached the wrong house. Officers reportedly knocked on the front door and announced they were police. When no one answered, officers asked dispatch to call the reporting party back and have them come to the front door.

As officers backed away from the door, the homeowner approached the door, armed with a handgun. Police later identified the homeowner as Robert Dotson.

“At this point in the encounter, officer(s) fired at least one round from their duty weapon(s), striking Mr. Dotson,” NMSP spokesman Ray Wilson wrote in the initial news release.

After the initial shooting, Dotson’s wife – who was also armed – opened fire from the doorway of the home. Once again, police shot back.

“Once she realized that the individuals outside the residence were officers, she put the gun down and complied with the officer’s commands,” Wilson wrote.

Dotson was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was uninjured.

New Mexico State Police said the Farmington police officers were not injured.

According to authorities, officers were dispatched to 5308 Valley View but ended up knocking on the door of the house across the street.

This is a developing story. Stay with KOB 4 Eyewitness News and for updates.