FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) -A New Mexico State Police officer was shot and a suspect is dead after a shooting during a traffic stop in northern New Mexico.
According to NMSP, around 9:30 a.m. Sunday near the Animas Valley Mall Sunday, a San Juan County Sheriff’s deputy pulled over a truck linked to a stolen trailer and multiple burglaries.
The deputy called for back up and a New Mexico State Police officer arrived on scene. By that time, according to NMSP Chief Pete Kassetas, the deputy was arresting the driver of the truck.
The NMSP officer started talking with one of the two passengers in the truck, identified as 26-year-old William Wilson, when there was some sort of exchange. The officer went to cuff Wilson when Wilson pulled a revolver and fired it at the officer.
The bullet hit the officer’s badge, Kassetas said, and sent shrapnel to his face. The round stopped in the officer’s ballistic vest, that’s when the officer and the deputy both fired at Wilson, killing him.
“Look, if someone is going to try and kill a State Police officer, then I’ll be very blunt… yeah, he’s a danger to the community,” Kassetas said. “I’m glad that everyone’s OK. That no one was shot…. That’s a populated area, and it could be more tragic than one person dead.”
The officer was taken to the hospital and has been released. The deputy was not injured, but both of their names have yet to be released.
NMSP and San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen says Wilson is an example of the repeat offender “catch and release” problem in New Mexico, and that too many criminals are immediately back out on the streets after being arrested for violent crimes.
Wilson has a lengthy criminal history with arrests dating back to at least 2009.
“It outrages me that we put our officers in jeopardy everyday like this,” Christesen said. “It should outrage everyone.”
Christesen and Kassetas say they expect to release the names of the other passenger and driver involved in this situation soon.