Officer describes conversation with Tai Chan after deadly shooting

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – The retrial continues for former Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Deputy Tai Chan who’s charged with murdering his partner.

Chan is charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death of Jeremy Martin in 2014 at a Las Cruces hotel.

The state called Las Cruces Police Officer Jared Cosper to the stand Monday. Cosper was one of the officers that rushed to the scene that night.

Cosper described what Chan told him as he took him into custody.

“[He] kept stating there was bad people in the hotel, that they had guns and that they were wanting to hurt people, kept  telling me to relay that information to get as many officers out of the building as possible because he wanted us to all be safe,” Ofc. Cosper said.

During the first trial, several local officers took the stand testifying that Chan was irrational and screaming. One officer testified he kept yelling a bomb was in the hotel.

The state also began to play an audio recording of the comments Chan made that night, but the defense objected to the way the recording had been edited. That recording has now been put on hold while attorneys review it.

Instead, the jury first got a close-up look at the crime scene inside the Hotel Encanto.

One of the prosecution’s witnesses on Monday was the LCPD officer who took that video, documenting the scene after the deadly shooting in 2014.

Video shows shell casings and bullet holes in the hotel room and in the hallway.

Investigators say the shooting happened after a drunken argument.

Chan and Martin were staying at the Las Cruces hotel on their way back to Santa Fe after transporting a prisoner.

This is Chan’s second trial after the first ended in a mistrial last year.

Prosecutors say Chan shot Martin five times in the back as Martin ran for his life down the hall.

Chan says he fired in self-defense because his own life was in danger.

The defense points out the bullet casings were all found in the hotel room and in an area just outside the doorway.

“There were no shell casings to the south of room 712 or 711? They were all confined to that location as depicted in both the video and the stills, right?” asked Chan’s attorney, Tom Clark.

“Yes, they were in that general area,” responded Geronimo Barreras, a crime scene technician with LCPD.

The video also shows the stairwell where officers found Chan sitting in a corner when they arrived.

It depicts Chan’s gun, which he left there after officers arrested him.

With so much testimony still to come in this second week of trial, the judge has alerted everyone that court will remain in session after the normal 5 p.m. closing time.

 

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