Officer’s old backpack takes on new meaning

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man said he found something in his garage that belonged to Ofc. Gregg “Nigel” Benner.

Daniel Sandoval said he bought a military-style backpack last fall from a friend who bought it at a yard sale.

“I needed it for hunting, and this one holds a good amount of items,” Sandoval said.

However, he said he learned that it may be much more than a good hunting bag after that friend called him this week about the name written on it.

“I actually noticed the name right when I purchased it, but to me it was just a name,” Sandoval said. “I didn’t know there was any significance behind it.”

It is slightly faded, but you can still make it out, “Nigel,” as in Gregg “Nigel” Benner.

The Rio Rancho Police officer was gunned down while making a traffic stop on Memorial Day.

Before his four years as a police officer, Benner served 22 years in the Air Force.

“Once I found out who it belonged to, then it became a little more important to me,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval posted pictures on social media, hoping to get more information. He said he knows it belonged to Ofc. Benner, but he is not sure if it is from his time in the military.

“If this backpack was actually used while he was in the military, I would think that would have some significant value to either his family members or other officers or military personnel,” Sandoval said.

In which case, Sandoval would like to return it to Benner’s family, or auction it off and donate the money to give back to the law enforcement community.

“From what I’ve learned of Ofc. Benner, he seemed to be a real great person and an item that was his, just because he is gone… why can’t the item continue to do good things,” Sandoval said.

KRQE reached out to Rio Rancho Police in case the family wants the backpack.

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