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DA's office finds fatal shooting by police of Bloomfield man justified

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The San Juan County District Attorney's Office has determined that the fatal shooting of John J. Rogers on Aug. 27 by a Bloomfield police officer was justified.

The determination means that Andy Darby, a school resource officer employed by the Bloomfield Police Department for seven years, will not be criminally charged in connection with the shooting.

The District Attorney's Office said in a letter sent to New Mexico State Police on Dec. 31 that evidence suggested that Rogers, 61, threatened Officer Andy Darby with a .40-caliber handgun before he was shot.

Brendan O'Reilly, an Albuquerque attorney representing the Rogers family, said he is still investigating the shooting and had no comment on the determination.

Darby was dispatched to 414 Ruth Lane at 10:18 a.m. on Aug. 27 after receiving reports of a possible suicidal subject, according to a police report provided by the District Attorney's Office.

Darby approached Rogers, who was standing near his truck, and Rogers became aggressive, the report states.

Rogers reached into his truck, despite warnings from the officer, and pulled out a pistol, according to the report.

Darby then fired three shots from the hip at Rogers, striking him once in the face and again in the torso.

A second officer said he heard two or three shots fired while he was standing near the road, but told investigators that he could not see what occurred between Rogers and Darby.

Squad car video cameras did not capture the shooting on tape, according to the report.

Rogers died enroute to San Juan Regional Medical Center, according to the report.

"The DA's Office does not believe there is a chance of convincing a jury that the officer committed a crime," Chief Deputy District Attorney Brent Capshaw said.

Rogers was under investigation for multiple counts of child sexual assault at the time he was shot and had told family members that he would commit suicide rather than be arrested.

Capshaw said the child molestation investigation did not have any bearing on his office's determination that the shooting was justified because Darby was not aware at the time that Rogers was under investigation.

Darby did know, however, that he was being dispatched to a potentially dangerous situation, Capshaw said.

Capshaw reviewed witness and officer interviews, photographs, in-car videos and various other evidence to make his determination.

Capshaw said neither an autopsy report nor a toxicology report was available when he made his decision.

Bloomfield police Chief Randy Foster said he expected the determination that the shooting was justified.

"From the get-go, I said I supported Officer Darby and his need to safely protect himself and the community," he said.

Darby has returned to active duty.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and stgarrison@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.