LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Las Cruces police say the man shot and killed by officers on Sunday lunged toward officers with a large knife, refusing to comply with orders to drop it. That’s when officers say they fired shots.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, 36-year-old Juan Gabriel Torres had multiple felonies on his record dating back to 2002 for aggravated battery, kidnapping and other crimes.
Officers say they followed Torres to the Lohman Avenue overpass at I-25 after he stole a truck from an elderly man. That’s when police say he got out, lunging towards officers.
“When they’re forced with a deadly force situation, whether it be a knife, a gun or a bat, if they feel their life is in danger or your life is in danger, they can use that deadly force to protect you and themselves,” said Las Cruces Police Department Chief Jaime Montoya.
Torres later died at the hospital.
The officers involved are on administrative leave while the department investigates.