Otero County DA weighs in on release of suspect in deadly police shooting

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ALAMOGORDO, N.M. – The Alamogordo community came together as fallen officer Anthony Ferguson’s procession went by the police station Monday night. 

Investigators say a suspect shot and killed Ferguson over the weekend while he was on duty. 

Now, the pain and anger over what happened is leading to new questions about the alleged shooter.

Otero County District Attorney Scot Key says his community has been here before.

“It’s heartbreaking, and I’m very sorry that I’ve had to go through this two, or three different times in my career. Bad, bad time in Alamogordo,” said Key. 

This time, the man accused of killing Ferguson was on Key’s radar. His office attempted to keep him in jail for another case but not at first.

“It’s a broken system,” said Key.

Dominic De La O’s criminal history shows an escalation starting with a DWI in 2022.  

This past January, police say he pulled a gun on them while they were serving a warrant.

De La O was shot, and Key explains why they didn’t try to keep him in jail then.

“Originally, he was charged with negligent use of a firearm, which is a misdemeanor, not even eligible,” Key said. 

Prosecutors say De La O showed a pattern of violating his conditions of release. That’s when they were successful at getting him locked up for a while. 

“And he was actually held without bond, pending trial,” said Key. 

But Judge Angie Schneider reversed that decision in June when De La O argued his Medicaid was cut off.

He claimed he wasn’t getting proper healthcare behind bars, and he had to take care of his child.  

Schneider gave him “one more chance” despite objections from the state.

A week ago, Key says De La O was at a party with drugs, alcohol, and a shooting – another violation.

This time, police say it ended with De La O shooting Ferguson in the face with a sawed-off shotgun.

“De La O was out and about with only conditions of release on a paper,” said Key. “It’s a condition of release that has no teeth.”

A point Key made is that there are no ankle monitors in Otero County. He says the state recently allocated more resources for their pretrial services department. But they have not kicked in yet. 

Key says there is no real accountability with the whole pretrial services department, and we’re seeing the result.

Key also says De La O’s case for the killing of Ferguson is set to go to a grand jury next week.