Officers cleared in death of knife-wielding New Mexico man

Judges gavel

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — Officers involved in the fatal shooting of a man in northwest New Mexico who police say was armed with two knives have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing.

The Gallup Independent reports Deputy District Attorney Earl Rhoads found the Gallup officers justified in their use of force against 29-year-old Alvin Sylversmythe. Rhoads informed police Chief Phillip Hart that the officers won’t face criminal charges in a letter released Friday.

Four officers had responded in July to a report of a knife-wielding man threatening people to find Sylversmythe with a knife in each hand.

Rhoads says Sylversmythe ignored commands to drop the weapons and moved toward the officers before he was shot.

He says the officers’ initial efforts to use nonlethal bean bag rounds against the 300-lb. man did not work.