Family, friends gather to remember Spencerville man shot by State Police
SPENCERVILLE— Family and friends of the man who was fatally shot here by State Police on Friday evening gathered in a dirt parking lot across from a Baptist church off of N.M. Highway 516 Saturday morning.
Some of them had been in the parking lot since the previous night, when Myles Roughsurface, 27, was shot multiple times by a New Mexico State Police officer, witnesses said Saturday. The shooting took place outside a residence in this community east of Flora Vista.
The man's mother, Darlene Tso, and stepfather, Charles Lee, waited in the parking lot more than 12 hours for confirmation that their son had been killed and the chance to return to their home located at the intersection of county roads 3264 and 3267.
Tso and Lee learned from neighbors Friday night that their son's body was lying on the side of the road.
The body was removed from the scene at approximately 11:30 a.m. Saturday and taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.
New Mexico State Police Sgt. Chad Pierce said the officers left the body lying outside uncovered so they could map the scene and take measurements from different angles.
"Sometimes, we have to leave the body out longer than we would like," he said.
The San Juan County Sheriff's Office received a call about an individual who was threatening residents with a rifle and had fired shots Friday evening. Two New Mexico State Police officers responded to the call, along with sheriff's office deputies, New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said during a press conference just after midnight Saturday.
The reporting person, Jacob Robinson, and his friend, Taylor Harris were taking Robinson's uncle home when they said a Native American man with short hair and a goatee walked in front of their truck, made an obscene gesture at them and shot at them.
Robinson said they drove away and notified the officers they encountered in the median of the highway.
"The only thing going through my mind at the time was, 'I'm going to die,'" Robinson said.
Sherri Hicks, who lives in the neighborhood, said she saw Roughsurface walking home Friday evening, and a large man she did not know was yelling at him and threatening her son, who was in the yard of his residence with his mother. Shortly afterward, she said, Roughsurface was shot.
After the officers arrived, they heard screaming and shots, Kassetas said during the press conference.
They found Roughsurface near his residence. Kassetas told the media that officials are still investigating what happened next, but he said the officer felt threatened and shot Roughsurface.
Police did not release Roughsurface's name to the media Saturday, but The Daily Times was present that afternoon when officers informed Tso and Lee about their son's death.
"This is the hardest part of our job," New Mexico State Police Sgt. Ron Foreman told the family. "Nothing is more difficult than having to face people and let them know they have lost a loved one."
The officer who shot Roughsurface has been placed on paid administrative leave. He was not identified by State Police.
Officers told the family that a black .38 Special revolver with a brown handle had been found in Roughsurface's pocket and was empty.
They told Lee that 9 millimeter rounds that matched the revolver were found in Roughsurface's room.
Lee told The Daily Times that he doesn't think 9 millimeter rounds would fit the revolver and that he did not own bullets for that gun, which he had purchased at a flea market.
Lee had placed his guns in Roughsurface's room so that Roughsurface could protect himself after a drive-by shooting a few months ago at their house.
Tso said a couple of young white men drove by their house in a white truck a couple of months ago, and shot their house and one of their dogs. The dog survived the shooting.
Tso had left the house for an hour to go shopping Friday evening and returned to find three officers inside. The officers came out with guns pointed at her and took her to the parking lot by the Baptist church, where her husband met her.
She remained there until after 1 p.m. Saturday when officers allowed her to return to the home.
Tso described her son as an intelligent young man.
"He could hold any conversation he wanted to have," she said.
He was also a handyman who could build houses from the foundation up, she said.
Earlier this year, he built Tso some flower beds using tires, and the two of them planted flowers. He told Tso that his favorite flowers were mums because "they look like little afros."
His friend, Jacquelin Medina, said Roughsurface was always willing to help people, including giving her money to buy milk for her children.
Hicks said when her car broke down, Roughsurface helped her fix it up and get it running again.
Family and friends said Roughsurface did not have any children. Instead, his animals were his children.
Tso said when her dog, Rusty, was born dead, Roughsurface "breathed life" back into the puppy.
"He's really an easygoing, mellow guy until somebody riles him up," Tso said.