Las Cruces police officer killed in the line of duty
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — An officer with the Las Cruces Police Department has died after he was stabbed by a suspect Sunday evening.
LCPD Officer Jonah Hernandez was responding to a trespassing call on the 300 block of South Valley Drive just after 5 p.m. Sunday.
Police say the trespassing suspect stabbed him with a kitchen knife. Then, they say a witness shot and killed the suspect.
A witness then utilized Hernandez’s police radio to call for help. Paramedics arrived and took Hernandez to the MountainView Regional Medical Center, where he died.
“The loss of Jonah is also a reminder of the dangers officers face every day. On every call, there is a potential for tragedy,” LCPD Chief Jeremy Story said Tuesday during a news conference.
Chief Story also identified the trespassing suspect as 29-year-old Armando Silva.
“Silva had a long history of violent crime and mental illness. This is just one more agonizing reminder of the brokenness of the New Mexico criminal justice system. A system that should have protected our community from Silva but instead allowed him to endanger us all,” the chief said.
Officer Hernandez was with LCPD for two years. The El Paso native leaves behind a wife and two sons, ages 10 and 2.
Hernandez was 35 years old.
The Las Cruces Police Association, the union that represents LCPD officers, is accepting donations for the family through a GoFundMe account and a local deposit account.
If you’d like to donate locally, you can visit any Citizens Bank of Las Cruces branch in Las Cruces. They ask that you make a check or money order payable to the “Benefit of Jonah Hernandez” fund.
LCPD, in the care of Veronica De La O, is also accepting checks made out to the fund Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. De La O is the treasurer of the Las Cruces Police Officers Association.
Officials with the association say all proceeds generated on either local account will go directly to the family of Hernandez.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued this statement following the death of LCPD Officer Jonah Hernandez:
“I am horrified to hear of the murder of a young officer in Las Cruces last night. Officer Hernandez was, by all accounts, a dedicated and brave public servant and an outstanding son, husband and father.
I am praying for Officer Hernandez’s wife, his two sons, his friends and family, his colleagues at the Las Cruces Police Department, and the Las Cruces community as they grieve his sudden and terrible loss. This loss is felt acutely by every first responder and their families, who selflessly serve and protect New Mexicans every day.
Officer Hernandez, thank you for your service.”
In Officer Hernandez’s honor, the governor ordered flags to fly at half-staff from February 14 to sundown on February 19.