Video shows chaos of Farmington police shooting
FARMINGTON, N.M. — The Farmington Police Department released video footage of a harrowing incident between one of their officers and a suspected DWI driver. The video shows the driver accelerating his car towards the officer, who responded with open fire.
Officer Waylon Wasson was on patrol the night of June 23 when he noticed something unusual – a possible DWI.
“He (Wasson) did a U-turn to attempt to stop the vehicle, the vehicle didn’t stop,” Farmington Police Department Chief Steve Hebbe said.
Instead the car turned down a dead end road.
“When the car hit that dead end, the officer stopped got out of his car, the driver put it in reverse and began to back up,” Hebbe said.
So the officer gave commands, telling the driver to put his hands up.
“The driver ignored those commands. They accelerate towards the officer and attempt to turn and get around the officers car, and strike the officer,” Hebbe said.
That left the officer inches away from getting pinned against his cruiser, and that’s when he opened fire. The suspect, Ladarius Tinhorn, wasn’t injured in the incident, but officer Wasson suffered minor injuries.
“The officer was lucky not to be severely injured or killed,” Hebbe said.
Hebbe added the incident left officer Wasson shaken up, and that it’s a different environment for officers on the streets these days.
“We see more violent crime on the street and far more violent encounters our officers are out in more dangerous situations more often than we were just a couple of years ago,” Hebbe said.
Hebbe noted that officers need to avoid situations like this one.
“We want to take a look at our training that had him get himself in that spot we don’t want our officers standing right there like that squared off with a car.”
Tinhorn, the suspect, was arrested later that evening for DWI and aggravated assault.
Chief Hebbe said FPD wrapped up an internal review and determined officer Wasson didn’t break any laws during the incident.
A criminal investigation by the sheriff’s office is ongoing and that will be sent over the local district attorney’s office for final review.