ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Dominique Perez told a jury what happened the day he shot homeless camper James Boyd. This is the first time he has spoken publicly since the shooting in the foothills in 2014.
It was a packed courthouse Tuesday as Perez testified. He told the jury police gave Boyd every opportunity to end the standoff peacefully but he refused to listen.
“He’s not wanting to resolve the situation, we’re giving him tools and trying to please him and end it peacefully, and he’s refusing to do so,” said Perez.
It was Perez and Keith Sandy who fired shots at Boyd, killing him as he held his two pocket knives.
The defense says they were protecting a fellow K9 officer who got too close to the homeless camper.
On the stand, Perez said the homeless camper refused to follow officers’ commands or drop his knives.
Perez also told the jury Boyd was telling officers he would murder them.
“I mean he’s making these comments to kill officers, I mean, it’s clear,” said Perez.
Perez also told jurors Tuesday why he decided to shoot Boyd, saying it led back to protecting the K9 handler.
“He had demonstrated the intent, the means and now the opportunity is available for him,” said Perez. “I perceived him to be an immediate deadly threat.”
Prosecutors have said Perez and Sandy didn’t need to shoot and that Boyd was turning to surrender when the officers fired shots.
On Tuesday, Perez testified that he never saw Boyd take a step toward officers with his two pocket knives in hand.
That was consistent with his account in, what prosecutors called, a “friendly” interview with police two days after the shooting.
“What you told Detective Stone is, ‘You shot because you felt he was going to lunge forward,’” said Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn said to Perez.
“Yes ma’am. I had the feeling he was going to lunge forward,” Perez responded.
“And now, from watching the video, you know that your feeling was wrong,” McGinn said.
Even with Perez on the stand, the focus turned to co-defendant Keith Sandy, who fired first and is accused of escalating the situation.
“I can’t tell you how sorry I am that you are the one who was sent up into a mess that some other officer created,” McGinn said.
Testimony on Tuesday revealed a supervisor sent Perez to meet Sandy and two others who had requested more help with Boyd.
Perez said he had a concern, as he approached, about the plan.
“My concern was, I mean, I didn’t know it,” Perez said.
Perez and Sandy are charged with second-degree murder. If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison.