Neighbor recounts Los Lunas officer-involved shooting

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – New Mexico State Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting.

Two Los Lunas police officers are involved in the shooting that happened Sunday night off Main Street.

State Police say this all started in Belen with a case involving a stolen vehicle, and ended at Hilltop Terrace Apartments in Los Lunas.

Police said they’d been chasing a car with a stolen license plate. When they gave up, police sent out an alert to be on the lookout for the car in Valencia County.

At about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Los Lunas police spotted the car at the Hilltop Terrace Apartments off Main Street and Canal.

As police were investigating, 32-year-old Russell Werner and woman came out of one of the apartments and began to approach police.

Police noticed the man was carrying a long assault-style rifle. Police say they told Werner to put the gun down, and that’s when they say he pointed it in the direction of the officers.

State Police says Los Lunas officers fired and Werner was hit multiple times. He was taken to UNM Hospital for surgery.

Byron Rohrer, a witness who lives near the apartment complex says he heard round after round of gunshots before seeing the Werner on the ground.

“The next thing we know, we hear ‘stop, drop it, drop it,’ “ Rohrer said. “Probably like four to six gunshots I would say went off.”

Rohrer says he believes Werner was shot in the leg.

State Police won’t say how many times officers fired or how many times the suspect was shot. They also have not released the names of the officers involved in the shooting.

The last officer-involved shooting in Los Lunas happened the day after Christmas when a 50-year-old man reportedly pointed a rifle at police.

Officers responded to a domestic violence call at a home off State Road 314 and Ruben Sanchez had barricaded himself inside.

When he finally did come out, police say Sanchez was holding a rifle and pointing it toward officers.

That’s when officer John Valdez, who’d been with Los Lunas police for a year, fired two rounds at Sanchez, hitting him once in the torso and sending him to the hospital.

Sanchez was charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon.

That case was forwarded to the Valencia County DA to decide if the shooting was justified.

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