Santa Fe Co. deputy charged with murder in fellow deputy’s death

Tai Chan
Tai Chan

LAS CRUCES (KRQE) – Las Cruces police are investigating a fatal shooting involving two Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies at a local hotel around midnight.

Police say one of the deputies, Jeremy Martin, 29, is dead and a warrant officer has been charged with an open count of murder.

According to Santa Fe County Sheriff Robert Garcia, Martin and 27-year-old Tai R. Chan were on their way back from transporting an inmate to Safford, Ariz., and decided to spend the night at Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces. The deputies checked into the hotel around 4 p.m., according to the Las Cruces Police Department, then went to Dublin’s Street Pub sometime Monday evening.

Santa Fe County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Martin
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Martin

LCPD says it’s believed the deputies consumed alcohol and got into an argument. At the hotel, Chan allegedly shot several rounds from a semi-automatic weapon at Martin. LCPD says evidence shows Martin was trying to flee the area in an elevator.

When police arrived, Martin was rushed to MountainView Regional Medical Center where he died. Police say he had several gunshot wounds to his back and arms.

Chan was found in a stairwell at the hotel. He was taken into custody without incident. Police say he has been charged with an open count of murder for the shooting.

A police news conference was filled with a lot of emotion Tuesday as Garcia fought tears while sharing details about the incident. He said both deputies were hard-working men and the call about the shooting around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday obviously came as a shock.

“You never want to receive anything like that waking you up. This has been a major impact and major shock for all my staff,” he said. “I’m at a loss for words, thoughts.”

Deputy Jeremy Martin Fund

  • Deputy Jeremy Martin Benefit
  • FundState Employees Credit union
  • Account # 80062719

Garcia said Martin had been with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office since 2011, and was married with three children younger than 10. Garcia also said personnel will be available for staff to help them grieve.

“It will take a long time to get over some of this,” Garcia said. “We are a law enforcement family. We’re here for each other as we grieve through this process.”

Two other past Santa Fe County deputies have died while working with the sheriff’s office – Ike Alarid in 1932 and Leopoldo Gurule in 1980.

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